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NHL Odds & Betting Preview: Capitals vs. Coyotes (Friday, April 22)

NHL Odds & Betting Preview: Capitals vs. Coyotes (Friday, April 22) article feature image
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Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin.

  • The Capitals are overwhelming favorites on Friday night against the Coyotes.
  • Washington's attack has been among the league's best this season and is especially thriving of late.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down where to find value in that trend below.

Capitals vs. Coyotes Odds

Capitals Odds -400
Coyotes Odds +310
Over/Under 6.5 (-120 / +100)
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Lowly Arizona has lost eight straight games and has allowed a shocking amount of goals against over that span. A date with the Washington Capitals might not help turn the tide, as the Caps continue to score at a high rate.

Washington will be keen to claim two crucial points and avoid a letdown game, especially after a highly contested affair Wednesday night in Vegas. What kind of game should we expect here?

Washington’s Attack Producing at Elite Rate

Alex Ovechkin’s two-goal performance carried his team to a crucial point Wednesday against Vegas, helping the Caps to yet another three-goal night offensively.

Washington has produced at the eighth-best rate league wide this season. With Anthony Mantha healthy and the power play clicking once again, we have seen the Caps score efficiently of late against some elite defensive clubs.

The Caps have scored five goals per game over their last eight and have played to a third best 3.83 expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) rate over that time. They have, however, allowed a below-average 2.87 expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) over that time, which combined with some average starting goaltending has them allowing a high-mark of 3.37 goals against during that time.

This kind of play has been pretty standard from this Capitals core for essentially all of coach Peter Laviolette’s era. I don’t expect a drastic change in style by any means down the stretch.

Ilya Samsonov was possibly leading the way in the battle for the first start of the playoffs in goal, but a very shaky start vs Vegas means we’ll likely see Laviolette opt to let Vitek Vanecek make his case with a start here. Vanecek holds a -3.3 Goals Saved Above Expected rating (GSAx) with a .909 save percentage in 42 games this season.

Lowly ‘Yotes Struggling Toward End of Season

Arizona was widely expected to be the worst team in hockey this season, and things have gone as badly as expected, particularly down this stretch run of a tough 2022 campaign.

Arizona has lost eight straight games while allowing a shocking average of 5.87 goals against per game. Its expected goals rate suggests it’s due to improve a little, but that number is still way up at 4.06 during this losing streak.

We might not want to count on the Coyotes finding too much positive regression either, as the goaltending duo of Karel Vejmelka and Harri Sateri figure to continue allowing more than expected.

Vejmelka will likely start this game, having struggled to the tune of a -21.4 GSAx rating with an .899 save percentage in 49 games.

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Capitals vs. Coyotes Pick

With how Washington has continued to play, I’m surely backing another over at 6. I again feel this line should be opening at 6.5.

My belief is that this isn’t as much of a smash spot on the over as the game against the Golden Knights was, but there are still a lot of arguments as to why we should get a push or better the majority of the time at 6.

Arizona is averaging totals well above 6 themselves of late, mainly because everybody has scored a ton of goals against the Coyotes. I could maybe see the Caps starting slow here, but it’s pretty easy to feel Washington can post four or more on Arizona a lot of the time.

We could possibly see Washington come out a little loose after a big outing in Vegas, as well, and be forced to drive up some offense chasing the game a little bit.

To see a couple soft goals from the combination of Vejmelka/Sateri and Vanecek would be far from surprising, as well. Altogether there are a number of ways we could see this contest getting past 6 total goals, and I would back the over 6 down to -125 as a result.

Pick: Over 6 (play to -125)

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