NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Capitals vs. Bruins (Jan. 20)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Capitals vs. Bruins (Jan. 20) article feature image

M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images). Pictured: Brad Marchand.

  • The Boston Bruins host the Washington Capitals in Thursday night NHL action.
  • To beat the Bruins a team needs depth, and the Capitals don't have that with many of their key players hurt.
  • Check out Greg Liodice's full betting guide for the game below.

Capitals vs. Bruins Odds

Capitals Odds+160
Bruins Odds-185
Over/Under6 (+100/-120)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Bruins host the Capitals in an Eastern Conference bout Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston. It’ll be the second time these two teams square off against each other, as the Bruins pulled off a convincing 7-3 victory a week and a half ago.

Since coming out of the Christmas pause, Washington has played shaky hockey at best. It's gone 4-4-2 in its last 10 but still holds strong on its playoff spot. Every team has a spell during the season when they’re not playing their best, but the Caps will manage their way out of it. If .500 hockey is the worst it’ll get, there shouldn’t be much worry.

On the contrary, the pause may have been the best thing for the Bruins. In their last 10 games, the B’s boast an 8-2 record even after getting pummeled by the Hurricanes Tuesday night.

Their game against the Canes is most likely an aberration, as Boston is playing its best hockey all season and has its eyes set on the playoffs.

Washington Capitals

You’d be hard-pressed to find a team with more offensive firepower than the Capitals.

They’re consistently a threat to score three or more goals a night. With a team led by Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, and John Carlson, what else would you expect?

The problem is, they will be without Carlson, Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha, and potentially TJ Oshie in this matchup. Missing those key pieces is likely what has kept Washington from thriving after Christmas, and once they return, I expect the dry spell to end.

Washington has been exceptional all season generating plays. It's a top-10 team in expected goals per 60 minutes with a 2.86 xGF and is the 11th-best at creating high danger chances.

It’s rather surprising how poor it is on the power play, though, since Ovechkin is such a threat. They’re scoring at only a 15.5% clip — the fifth-worst mark in the league. 

The Caps bode fairly well on the defensive end. They allow a decent amount of goals and high danger chances, but not enough to be concerned about.

In net, the goalie carousel will never be easy to figure out. All season, Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov have split the starts and have handled it fairly well.

Vanecek has received the majority of the starts recently, so I expect Samsonov to take the crease. The Russian netminder has posted a .903 SV% and a poor -3.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected).

Vanecek, meanwhile, has been mildly superior with a .911 SV% and a -1.3 GSAx. Either way, I don’t think whoever is in net will make a difference, as they’ve played a similar game all season.

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Boston Bruins

Many thought the Bruins would be an afterthought after an incredibly mediocre start to the season. After Christmas, their top players have stepped up and silenced that chatter.

Brad Marchand is playing out of his mind, while David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Taylor Hall are all contributing behind him. 

With all of this newfound success, the Bruins keep climbing the rankings in expected goals per 60. They currently stand at 13th with a 2.54 xGF but haven’t created as many high danger chances as they’d like to, standing at 22nd league-wide.

With that Perfection Line of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak, though, the power play has been humming as they score at a 23.6% rate, which is good enough for eighth in the league. 

Boston is one of the elite defensive teams. It allows the least amount of high danger chances out of all teams, and it gives up the sixth-fewest goals. 

Tuukka Rask is back in the black and gold, but I wouldn’t expect to see him back after Tuesday’s demolition. That would leave Linus Ullmark, who has performed pretty well in net.

The Swede started slow this year, but he’s managed a decent .917 SV% and a 0.1 GSAx. It seems like Ullmark is getting comfortable in Beantown, and having the veteran Rask backing him up could bode well for his future there.

Capitals vs. Bruins Pick

As deadly as Washington’s top players are, I don’t think it can be enough to penetrate the Bruins' stifling defense. Teams need depth to slow down and frustrate teams, and Washington is missing key parts that contribute to its depth.

It could be a good game, to say the least, but I see the B’s taking this in front of their home crowd. 

Pick: Bruins ML -150

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