Capitals vs. Flames Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bets To Make Based on Which Caps Goalie Starts (March 8)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Ilya Samsonov.
- The red-hot Flames are favored at home on Tuesday against the Capitals.
- While Washington hangs onto a playoff spot, Calgary is looking like one of the NHL's best teams.
- Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Capitals vs. Flames Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Washington Capitals find themselves in Calgary as they take on the Flames. It’ll be the final time these teams square off, as the Flames beat Washington on the road 4-3 in overtime during their first meeting this season.
Washington started this season off really strongly, and it looked like it’d stay atop the Metropolitan Division. While it seems likely the Caps will make the playoffs, they’ve fallen off to the tune of a 10-12-2 record in 2022. They do hold the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
While the Flames aren’t the best team record-wise, they’re certainly the hottest. Last month, they went on a 10-game winning streak and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The first-place Flames are coming off a typically heated battle against the Oilers.
Experienced Caps Remain Strong on Both Ends
The Caps certainly aren’t short on talent. They have a Big 3 that most teams would die for with Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson.
However, there have been some inconsistencies all around. You know what you’re going to get from those three, and even a guy like Tom Wilson, but everyone else needs to be better on both ends of the ice.
With the talent up front, the Caps are a decent team at driving play. Averaging 3.21 goals per game, they’re 12th in expected goals with a 51.55 xGF% and 17th in high-danger chances created. It’s fairly surprising that Washington isn’t as good on the power play as you expect. With Ovechkin looking for that deadly one-timer, the Caps should be scoring more than 17% of the time.
Defensively, Washington isn’t that bad. They do a good job at keeping the puck out of their net (2.74 goals allowed per game) and are decent at preventing high-danger chances. Even on the penalty kill, Washington holds the power play well with an 80.5% success rate.
Coach Peter Laviolette seems adamant on splitting the starts between both of his goalies. Vitek Vanecek has had a wonderful season with a .921 save percentage and a +1.6 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected), but Ilya Samsonov hasn’t fared off so well. The Russian netminder is posting a .901 save percentage and -6.7 GSAx.
If I were to venture a guess, I’d think Vanecek starts, but I would definitely monitor it.
Flames Attack is Among NHL’s Elite
You’d be hard pressed to find a team that’s deeper than Calgary these days.
The red-hot Flames are fully healthy and have four 20-goal scorers and three players averaging at least one point per game. Led by stud wingers Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, the Flames are also carried by Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane. Defensively, Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington are becoming quality players.
It’s no surprise that the Flames are one of the best play drivers in the league. Currently sixth in goals per game (3.48), they stand first in expected goals with a 56.57 xGF% and 10th in creating high-danger chances. Not only that, but Calgary is also an exceptional team with the man advantage, scoring about 22.7% of the time.
On the other side of the puck, the Flames are just as good and one of the better defensive teams in the league. They’re second in goals allowed per game (2.46) and third in high-danger chances allowed. The penalty kill is fantastic, as well, as they have an 84.8% success rate.
Since Jacob Markstrom played against Edmonton, expect backup Dan Vladar to get the nod in this bout. The Czech goaltender has had a decent season so far, as he’s posting a .904 save percentage and a -3.6 GSAx.
Capitals vs. Flames Pick
One could argue that with the Flames coming off an intense battle against their rivals, this would be the perfect chance to ride with the Capitals.
In reality, this really depends on who starts between the pipes for Washington. I’m much higher on Vanecek than Samsonov. If Vanecek starts, I can see value in picking the Caps.
Should Samsonov start, I’d be inclined to pick the over. Two backup goalies with high powered offenses just screams to me that there will be a lot of scoring in this bout.
Pick: Capitals ML (+120) if Vanecek starts / Over 6 (-115) if Samsonov starts
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