NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Ducks (November 16)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Troy Terry
Ducks vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
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Two hot teams come into this matchup with winning streaks on the line. The Anaheim Ducks host the Washington Capitals with a seven-game winning streak while the Caps look to extend their four-game streak.
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018, one word has been following the Capitals: underachievers. Sure, they made the playoffs in each year since, but they’ve been eliminated in the first round the past three years, which is unacceptable for the boys in red.
However, this year has been different. Of the six losses they have, four have come in overtime, which means it’ll never be easy for the opposition.
Anaheim has surprised practically every hockey fan with the run they are on. From a team that openly stated that they were rebuilding, the Ducks have had their way with every team they faced in the month of November. Standing at second place in the Pacific Division, they look to continue their hot streak and make a name for themselves.
You can’t think of Washington without thinking of the Great Eight, Alexander Ovechkin. The man they call “Ovi” is chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, and while he may not get it this year, he could get it before he retires. Evgeni Kuznetsov is also having a great year after two mediocre seasons, as he wants to get back to his old ways, by scoring 20 points in 15 games.
While it hurts to miss T.J. Oshie due to injury, the Caps have a “next man up mentality.” Production is always spread out in the nation’s capital, so it’s never hard for them to score. They are averaging 3.6 goals per game (good enough for third in the league).
Since the offense is so spread out, you’d have to imagine that they’re one of the best teams in generating scoring chances. Washington currently leads the league in Expected Goals per 60 minutes with a 3.37 xGF% and 11th with 133 High Danger Chances. Defenses do not have it easy when they’re staring down a hulking Washington offense.
Braden Holtby used to be their top guy, but since then he’s made a stop in Vancouver, and he’s now in Dallas. Many thought Ilya Samsonov was the future, and he still might be. However, Vitek Vanecek has received the majority of the starts for the Caps, and he could get the nod again against Anaheim.
He’s been fairly decent in net for someone who was expected to be a backup. Vanecek has posted a .912 SV% with a 0.0 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx). He could be better, he could be worse, but with Washington’s offense, I don’t think they’re worried just yet.
The Anaheim Ducks have had a special start to the season. Everyone expected this team to contend for a top-five draft pick and struggle all the way through.
However, it seems the Ducks have different plans. Young stud Troy Terry is on a torrid 14-game point streak, Ryan Getzlaf seems to be revitalizing his career at the ripe age of 36, and wily vets Adam Henrique and Kevin Shattenkirk are playing exceptional hockey. They seem to be doing things right in Orange County with a great young core, and proven vets have shown them the way.
For the past few years the Ducks have been at the bottom of the barrel offensively, and this year is way different so far. At fourth (right behind the Caps), they average 3.56 goals per game and are a top-15 team in Expected Goals per 60 minutes with a 2.52 xGF%. Not only that but Anaheim also generates the second-most high danger chances in the league with 148. The Ducks are no fluke, and teams should be taking them seriously.
John Gibson is a top-10 goaltender in the league. As a favorite to take the starting role for Team USA, he’s having the most success he’s had since 2018. He doesn’t have a great GSAx in -0.4, but he makes up for it in GAA with 2.37 and his .924 SV%. Backup Anthony Stolarz has been pretty good in relief as well, but this is a formidable opponent, and I expect Gibson to be the starter for this matchup.
Capitals vs. Ducks Pick
When the schedule was released in the summer, one would probably look at this game and automatically assume this was an easy win for the Caps.
But that’s why we play the games folks.
We have two high octane offenses with quality goaltending on both sides, and I believe it will make for a wonderful matchup.
In the end, I value Gibson more than I do Vanecek, and think he’s more susceptible to steal a game. This will be an exciting one, so buckle up.
Pick: Anaheim Ducks at +115.