NHL Odds, Preview: Canucks vs Capitals Prediction (Sunday, February 11)
(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) Pictured: Elias Pettersson
Canucks vs. Capitals Odds
Here's everything you need to know about the Vancouver Canucks vs. Washington Capitals on Sunday, February 11 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.
We still have months left in the regular season, but Vancouver already has an eye on the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Capitals' chances of getting to the postseason are fading fast. Still, upsets happen. So, let's preview this upcoming contest and offer a Canucks vs. Capitals prediction.
Vancouver and Washington both played Saturday, so the two squads are on even footing as far as rest goes. The Canucks deployed Casey DeSmith in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to Detroit, which leaves Thatcher Demko free to face the Capitals. Demko has been one of the league's best goaltenders with a 27-9-1 record, a 2.47 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 37 contests, so the Canucks are in good hands, especially against a Washington team that's struggled offensively.
The Canucks haven't had those kind of scoring shortcomings. Instead, Vancouver features the second-best offense with 3.69 goals per game. Washington doesn't have a player close to the 40-point milestone, but Vancouver has three players with over 60 points (Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes) and a fourth who has breached the 50-point mark (Brock Boeser).
Then there's Elias Lindholm, whom the Canucks acquired from Calgary on Jan. 31. The 29-year-old has been held off the scoresheet in his past two contests after scoring two markers in his Canucks debut, but should ultimately serve as a nice addition to a top six that was already potent.
It will be difficult for Washington to keep pace with Vancouver's offensive threats.
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The Capitals are coming off a significant 3-0 upset over Boston on Saturday, so perhaps they can carry that momentum into Sunday's uphill battle?
If Washington is to pull off a repeat performance, it'll likely do so without Charlie Lindgren in net after he was utilized on Saturday. Instead, the Capitals are projected to deploy Darcy Kuemper, who entered the season as the No. 1 netminder, but has seen his job threatened due to his lackluster 11-12-2 record, 3.18 GAA and .894 save percentage across 26 contests.
To be fair, a big part of Washington's success Saturday was its ability to limit the Bruins to 18 shots, so if the Capitals can give that kind of support to Kuemper, the 33-year-old goaltender should be able to take carry things the rest of the way, despite his otherwise underwhelming play. That's probably hoping for too much, though. Washington is, at best, mediocre in terms of shot control, allowing 30.5 per game, so Kuemper is likely to get tested.
The Capitals' offense ranks 30th in the league with just 2.38 goals per game. Of course, it hasn't helped that Nicklas Backstrom (hip) has been gone all season and Evgeny Kuznetsov (personal) isn't an option either, but that reality will remain true Sunday.
The lone silver lining is Alex Ovechkin. The 38-year-old provided just eight goals through his first 43 contests this year, which is a run of futility we hadn't previously seen from the star forward and raised questions about whether age had finally caught up to him. However, he's now on a four-game goal-scoring streak.
Even playing at home isn't enough to alter the fact that the Capitals are seen as the clear underdogs. Washington enjoyed a good game Saturday and Ovechkin has looked better lately, but the Capitals have still left plenty to be desired. They are 23-20-7 with a -33 goal differential and are facing one of the league's best teams.
I expect the Canucks to solve Kuemper and earn a clean victory, so I feel comfortable recommending them on the puck line.