NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canucks vs. Capitals (October 17)
John McCreary/Getty. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin.
Canucks vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Vancouver Canucks have had a rough start in their first two games. First they blow a 3-0 lead to Edmonton and lose 5-3, then they fell to the Flyers. The Canucks will look to come out tonight and get in the win column for the first time this year.
Washington hasn’t had it much easier. Starting off the season with two straight losses to Boston and Toronto, the Capitals managed to get their first win against Montreal.
Will the Canucks finally get in the win column? Or do the Capitals pick up where they left off and leave their slow start in the rearview?
Canucks A Fascinating Season Case
I’m very interested in watching the Canucks this season. They just missed the playoffs by five points, and this team has happily bought into Bruce Boudreau’s system since coming in mid-season last year.
There’s also a whole lot of talent with JT Miller, Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and captain Bo Horvat. Along with them, they also brought in Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko to improve the front line.
Despite the slow start, I was encouraged by what I saw from the Canucks at even strength. So far this season, they’re posting a 56.91 xGF% (expected goals), though not as many high danger chances.
They really need to be better on special teams as the penalty kill has gone 4-9 and the power play went 1-13 in two games. Obviously it’s very early in the season, but their start could’ve been much better if they got their ducks in a row in special teams.
Goaltending is pretty set in stone. Thatcher Demko has proven to be the head honcho in the blue paint for the past few years and had a great year last year. The San Diego native posted a solid .915 SV% and +10.5 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected).
He struggled in Edmonton, and did his best in Philly, so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets back over the hump against an injured yet talented Capitals team.
Capitals Hard to Figure Out
Washington is on the fritz this season as it’s already playing without staples in Nick Backstrom, Tom Wilson, and Carl Hagelin. One thing you can never do is count the ‘Caps out.
They’re still loaded as Alex Ovechkin gets closer and closer to the all-time goal scoring record, while Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson and TJ Oshie are always difficult to play against.
Even strength play hasn’t been as kind to the Caps as it usually is. They are currently at a ninth-worst expected goals rate of 42.29 xGF% but are fairly decent at creating high danger chances.
What’s surprising is that in their three games, the Capitals have only converted once on the power play. Their PP has always been deadly with Ovechkin looming with his one-timer, so I do expect it to get better as time goes on.
The Capitals bolstered their goaltending situation by adding Stanley Cup champion Darcy Kuemper. Goaltending was seemingly a weakness for the ‘Caps, which is why they went through a total overhaul, and they also added Charlie Lindgren as Kuemper’s backup.
Kuemper is used to rough starts, disappointing in the beginning of last season. This year in his two starts he’s posted a .902 SV% and a -0.6 GSAx. Given his recent success over the last few years, I wouldn’t worry long term, but short term, Kuemper is a risk to bank on.
Canucks vs. Capitals Pick
When monitoring this game, I look at one thing: special teams. Vancouver has proven that they’re not ready to shut down a talented power play with a painful 7.7% PK. Washington may have not converted a whole lot, but they’re always a threat with Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Carlson.
BetMGM has the odds in favor of the Capitals. While I like the Canucks a lot, I just think they have a lot to figure out before I can consider backing them. Washington is clearly the more disciplined team and can make teams regret any mistake they may make.
Pick: Capitals ML (-140)