NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Blackhawks (Dec. 2)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Blackhawks (Dec. 2) article feature image
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Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin

Capitals vs. Blackhawks Odds

Blackhawks Odds +170
Capitals Odds -210
Over/Under 6
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Chicago will look to avoid falling in back-to-back contests for the first time under Coach Derek King as they are coming off a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of the Sharks Sunday. The Blackhawks will be in tough against a Capitals group that has managed a 7-1-3 mark at home this season.

Washington will return home after a shocking collapse, falling 5-4 in regulation to the Florida Panthers after owning a 4-1 lead heading into the third period.

Will Washington bounce back with a better effort against a considerably lesser Chicago offense?

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have cleaned up their defensive game considerably under coach Derek King. However, they aren generating very little at the other end of the ice and have been altogether playing some very low-event hockey over his nine-game tenure.

The Blackhawks have averaged the sixth-lowest xGF/60 of 1.88 in the nine games since King’s hire, but they are also holding their opposition to the sixth-lowest xGA/60 of 2.17 as game totals have averaged 4.33 total goals.

It has been rare to seen the Blackhawks truly take the game to anybody this season, and their better recent results are a product of limiting mistakes in their end. Each win has come by just one goal (excluding a 4-2 win after an empty netter vs Seattle), with three coming in 3-on-3 or the shootout.

Chicago controlling play to just a 46.41 xGF% over those nine contests isn’t surprising, although they have looked notably cleaner altogether.

Marc-Andre Fleury has seen a notable turnaround in form of late, with a .953 Save % over his last six starts. This is to an extent due to the cleaner play in front of goal from his side after some abysmal play to start the season.

Washington Capitals

All things considered, a 5-4 defeat on the road to one of the league’s best teams while still playing without the entire second line, among others, doesn’t sound so bad.

But to do so after holding a 4-1 lead, and ultimately not claiming a point, will certainly sting for coach Laviolette’s depleted team. They will look to bounce back quickly to maintain a strong position in the immensely competitive Metropolitan Division.

The Capitals have continued to manage strong results. While Ovechkin’s MVP caliber play is certainly the headline, the tremendous play from top to bottom from the defense corps is the biggest reason for their success, including some notably strong attacking play from the back end.

Justin Schultz is out, but the rest of the corps will be intact tomorrow night. Expect them to be on point and give the Caps a great opportunity to control more of the play as they have done much of this season while playing without notable offensive players like T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Anthony Mantha.

I think we could see Laviolette give Vitek Vanecek a start here, as he has sat since November 21. It seems like a good opportunity to get him some minutes after Samsonov faced 50 shots Tuesday and played his fourth consecutive game.

Vanecek has posted a .906 Save % with a -2.4 GSAx rating in 12 starts this season.

Capitals vs. Blackhawks Pick

Chicago has been playing some low event, low scoring hockey under coach Derek King. The Blackhawks have been far from dominant as they kept contests close and made fewer mistakes than their opposition.

I expect the Capitals to control more of the play here in what I figure will be a surprisingly low scoring contest.

The Capitals have seen five consecutive contests go over six, but I think a lot of those were quietly in large due to both game script and the opposition, as all featured far more up-tempo teams and situations where a strong goal scoring squad ended up chasing a big deficit early. Given Chicago’s recent form, such a situation is less likely to occur.

I see some value on Washington to win in regulation at -115 and would play that down to -125.

Pick: Capitals 60 Minute Line -115 (DraftKings)

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