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Capitals vs. Devils Odds, Prediction | NHL Preview (November 26)

Capitals vs. Devils Odds, Prediction | NHL Preview (November 26) article feature image
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Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek

  • The New Jersey Devils are home favorites on Saturday against the Washington Capitals.
  • The Capitals won with their backup in net the last time these teams matched up, but Ryan Dadoun isn’t expecting lighting to strike twice for Washington.
  • Check out his best bet and analysis below.

Capitals vs. Devils Odds

Capitals Odds +138
Devils Odds -166
Over/Under 6 (+102/-124)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV MSG
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Devils’ 13-game winning streak is behind them, but New Jersey is still one of the best teams in the league. Meanwhile, even with Alex Ovechkin enjoying yet another outstanding season, the Capitals’ early struggles have cast doubt on their ability to even make the playoffs.

Washington did manage to earn a 6-3 win over New Jersey on Oct. 24, but can the Capitals do that again, or will the favored Devils triumph this time around?

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Can the Shorthanded Capitals Step Up?

If the Capitals do indeed see their run of eight straight playoff berths come to an end with the 2022-23 campaign, injuries will be a big part of the reason why.

Forwards Nicklas Bäckström (hip), Tom Wilson (knee) and Carl Hagelin (hip) haven’t played at all this season. Defensemen John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov have missed six and nine of Washington’s first 22 games, respectively. T.J. Oshie has also spent 11 contests on the sidelines. With that many important players missing chunks or all of the first quarter of the season, it’s no wonder they’re 9-10-3.

Washington does have some of those players back now, but as long as Bäckström and Wilson are sidelined, the Capitals’ offense will be meaningfully short of its potential. The fact that Washington had the 26th-ranked offense with 2.76 goals per game through Thanksgiving speaks to that. Alexander Ovechkin has 11 goals and 21 points in 22 contests, so he’s been pulling his weight, but he needs more help from the team’s other forwards.

Ovechkin at least has been getting a bit of aide from goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who is 7-9-1 with a 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage in 17 games. Kuemper has had some rough patches this season, but he has won his last two games, including a 32-save shutout over Calgary on Friday.

Unfortunately, the Capitals are now in the position to either start Kuemper on no rest or turn to backup goaltender Charlie Lindgren against New Jersey. The Capitals will probably end up using Lindgren, but he has struggled this season with a 2-1-2 record, 3.13 GAA and .905 save percentage in six contests.

The only silver lining here for the Capitals is that Lindgren was in net for Washington’s game against the Devils on Oct. 24, so at least one of his two wins this season was against the team he’s slated to face.


Post-Streak Devils

The Devils also played Friday, but the difference is that New Jersey sent out Akira Schmid for that contest versus Buffalo, which leaves starting goaltender Vitek Vanecek rested and ready to face the Capitals. That’s great news given that Vanecek has been a huge part of New Jersey’s early success. He has a 9-2-0 record, 2.14 GAA and .917 save percentage in 13 contests this season.

The Devils’ strength goes beyond their strong goaltending though. As good as Ovechkin has been for Washington, New Jersey has three forwards who have largely matched his success. Entering Friday’s action, Jesper Bratt had eight goals and 24 points in 20 games, Nico Hischier recorded nine goals and 22 points in 19 contests, and Jack Hughes contributed seven goals and 21 points in 20 contests.

The Devils have offensive depth too, and that combination has placed them in fourth place offensively with 3.70 goals per game through Thanksgiving.

New Jersey’s 13-game winning streak was snapped against Toronto on Wednesday, so it will be interesting to see how the Devils respond over the next few games. Will they shrug off the loss, especially given its controversial nature with New Jersey enduring three disallowed goals, and keep powering on, or will the Devils flounder a bit after losing momentum?

To that extent, this is a good test for the Devils, but they are a legitimately well put together team, and regardless of what happens in the short term, they should be regarded as serious contenders this season.

Capitals vs. Devils Pick

Washington decisively won its first game against New Jersey, and the Capitals have won their last two games, so there are reasons to be hopeful about Washington’s chances.

However, given the Capitals’ key injuries, the game being played in New Jersey, and Washington likely starting its backup while New Jersey is sending out its starter leads me to heavily favor the Devils. I do understand that Lindgren was in net the first time Washington won, but he hasn’t performed at a high level this season, and I don’t feel comfortable predicting history to repeat itself in this case.

New Jersey should come out ahead, and I’d even go so far as to take the Devils on the puck line with the 1.5-goal spread against them, given that the potential payout for a moneyline bet on New Jersey isn’t too enticing.

Pick: New Jersey Devils Puck Line -1.5 (+142) | play down to (+130)


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