NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Wild vs. Capitals (January 17)
ruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Felip Gustavsson
- The Washington Capitals finish off the second of a back-to-back on Tuesday night when they host the Minnesota Wild.
- This game is close to a coin flip according to oddsmakers, but might Minnesota have the edge given it will be rested?
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Wild vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Wild are going into this contest after winning their last two to push their record up to 24-14-4. Minnesota will be facing Washington on the road, but the Wild have reason to be optimistic given that the Capitals are playing for the second straight night and third time in four days.
Washington is a solid team holding onto a wild-card spot, but can the Capitals really measure up to Minnesota while running on fumes?
The Wild have the 19th-ranked offense with 3.12 goals per game this season and they’re trending in the wrong direction after scoring just eight goals in their last four games. Still, Minnesota has one forward to keep a close eye on in Matt Boldy.
The 21-year-old has been held off the scoresheet for five straight games and has just two assists in his last eight contests, but he might feel emboldened (I’m so sorry) after signing a seven-year, $49 million contract Monday. If nothing else, the fact that this is his first game since inking a major extension presents an interesting storyline for the contest.
Minnesota could certainly use the secondary scoring because while Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello have excelled with 52 and 44 points, respectively, the rest of the Wild’s forwards have struggled to keep up.
Joel Eriksson Ek is the only other player on the team with at least 30 points (33), while Kaprizov and Zuccarello are the only Wild players with at least 15 goals. To give some context, Winnipeg, which is tied for ninth offensively, has five players with over 30 points and three with a minimum 20 goals.
Filip Gustavsson doesn’t often need a ton of offensive support, though. He has a 10-6-1 record, 2.17 GAA and .925 save percentage in 17 games. Gustavsson started the season as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup, but his strong play has pushed the Wild to take a 1A and 1B approach lately. Fleury started Saturday against Arizona, so Gustavsson is likely to get the nod Tuesday night.
While the Wild don’t have a ton of offensive depth, Washington has been in an even worse position for most of the season. Alex Ovechkin has excelled with 30 goals in 45 games, but the next best Capitals players are Conor Sheary and Conor Sheary, who each have 11 markers.
Injuries were part of the problem, but Tom Wilson (knee) and Nicklas Backstrom (hip) made their season debut Jan. 8. However, the two have gotten off to slow starts, combining for just an assist over their first three games. They did miss roughly half the season, so it’s not surprising that there’s some rust for them to work through, but in the meantime the Capitals’ forward core isn’t firing on all cylinders even if it’s finally healthy.
Plus, the fatigue factor might hit Wilson and Backstrom even more than most, given that they’re being asked to shift from months without games to almost immediately entering a stretch of three contests in four days.
On the plus side, Washington has an effective backup goaltender in Charlie Lindgren. He’s 11-5-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .912 save percentage in 19 contests. He also hasn’t played since Jan. 6, so unlike most of his teammates, he’s fresh. Darcy Kuemper, who got the start Monday, is likely to act as the backup versus Minnesota.
Wild vs. Capitals Pick
This game is close to a coin flip at most books as of this writing, as you’ll see either dueling -110 lines or one team favored at -120. It’s clear most expect this to be a tight affair.
The Capitals’ fatigue is ultimately what tips the scales for me. Minnesota and Washington are fairly evenly matched teams otherwise. Both have strong goaltending coupled with great talent up front, but questionable depth. Both have similar records and neither has been hot or cold recently. So the biggest difference really is that Minnesota is rested while Washington is tired.
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