NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Avalanche (January 24)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: J.T. Compher
- The Colorado Avalanche host the Washington Capitals in an NHL matchup on Tuesday night.
- It's been a rough January for Washington, but Colorado appears to be clicking as it gets healthier.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.
Capitals vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Riding an impressive five-game winning streak, the Colorado Avalanche will look to strengthen their hold on a Western Conference playoff spot when they open a three-game homestand against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Sitting in the first wild-card spot in the East, the Capitals are wrapping up a western swing that saw them earn a shutout win in Arizona before dropping a 6-2 decision in Vegas.
Here’s the latest on both squads, and your best bet for Tuesday’s game.
The Caps ran hot in December, amassing a record of 11-2-2. But January has not been so kind. The club is a mediocre 4-5-1 and has not been able to string together any back-to-back wins.
The club certainly misses John Carlson, who has been on injured reserve since taking a slap shot to the face on Dec. 23. But he’s not alone on that list. In addition to long-term injuries to forwards Connor Brown and Carl Hagelin, T.J. Oshie has flown back to Washington for the birth of his fourth child while depth center Nic Dowd is on the shelf with a lower-body issue.
So is the rarely hobbled Alex Ovechkin, who missed Saturday’s game in Vegas. He did practice on Monday in Denver and could play on Tuesday, although his status remains uncertain as of Monday evening.
Even before coming out of the lineup, Ovechkin was uncharacteristically quiet. He had just one goal in his previous seven games.
If Ovechkin can’t play, expect to see Anthony Mantha draw back in. A healthy scratch in four of Washington’s last seven games, the rangy winger has seen his role shrink as this season has worn on. He’s pointless in his last four games and sitting at just 23 points for the year.
Despite their recent results, the Caps are playing fundamentally decent hockey. Their expected goal share at 5-on-5 over the last 10 games is in the top 10 and their penalty killing has been solid. But while Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren both have solid performance numbers for the year, pucks have been finding their way into the net.
Lindgren stepped in for 27:24 of relief action in Vegas on Saturday but it’s likely that Kuemper return to the starting role against his old team on Tuesday night.
The current upswing for the Avalanche has coincided with Valeri Nichushkin and Pavel Francouz returning from their respective injuries.
Francouz has spelled Alexander Georgiev ably, giving up just seven goals in his four starts since Jan. 12. And while Nichushkin has just two points in four games since his return, he did score the game winner against Vancouver last Friday.
At this point, the Avs are locking down their defensive game while also scoring almost at will. They eked out a shootout win in Seattle in their last game on Saturday night, after outscoring their opponents by a cumulative total of 21-5 in their four prior wins.
Colorado also picked up its last three wins without Norris Trophy-winner Cale Makar. He was sidelined with an upper-body issue and did skate Monday. Like Ovechkin, his status for Tuesday night remains uncertain.
Fellow defenseman Josh Manson is also getting closer to returning from his lower-body injury, but isn’t expected back until after the All-Star Break.
Colorado’s special teams have also been sharp through this winning streak. They’re 6-for-15 on the power play over the last five games (40%) and 11-for-12 on the penalty kill (91.67%).
Capitals vs. Avalanche Pick
The Avalanche are considerable favorites for Tuesday’s match, and with good reason. They’re the hotter squad, they’re on home ice and they’ve got the edge in the season series after shutting out Washington 4-0 at Capital One Arena back on November 19.
Jared Bednar’s squad also might not even have to face Alex Ovechkin. And the Avs need to keep their foot on the gas in order to keep gaining ground in a highly competitive Western Conference, where third place in the Central Division is now within reach.
With the urgent determination they’ve shown over the past five games — and the potential return of the game-breaking Makar — look for the Avs to secure the win inside 60 minutes. That’s good value, at close to even money.
Pick: Avalanche in regulation (-106); play down to -120