NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs Flames (Monday, March 18)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs Flames (Monday, March 18) article feature image

(Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) Pictured: Alex Ovechkin.

  • The Washington Capitals (32-25-9) and Calgary Flames (33-29-5) will meet on Monday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
  • The Flames are -135 favorites on the moneyline, with a game total over/under of 6.
  • NHL expert Carol Schram makes the case for the slight underdog Capitals.

Capitals vs. Flames Odds

Monday, March 18
8:30 p.m. ET
NHL Network
Capitals Odds+115
Flames Odds-135
Over / Under
-115o / -105u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Washington Capitals vs. Calgary Flames on Monday, March 18 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

Both teams are currently outside the playoff picture. And despite being trade-deadline sellers, they're coming into Monday's matchup each riding two-game winning streaks — thanks, in no small part, to some terrific goaltending.

A lot has changed on both sides since Evgeny Kuznetsov's patented slo-mo shootout goal against Calgary gave Spencer Carbery his first win as an NHL head coach back on Oct. 16. But with Washington still sniffing around a potential playoff berth, look for the road 'dogs to prevail again at the Scotiabank Saddledome and close out their road trip on a winning note.

Let's dive into our Capitals vs. Flames prediction and pick.

Washington Capitals

All but forgotten after a tough start to the season, the Capitals have become unlikely contenders for a wild-card spot. After picking up 2-1 wins in Seattle and Vancouver in their last two games, they woke up Sunday morning just one point behind the Detroit Red Wings, who are hanging on to the last playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Since the All-Star break, the Capitals are 10-7-2. Much of their success has come from strong goaltending by Charlie Lindgren, who's up to 12.3 goals saved above expected for the year. He's now carrying most of the load, starting 11 of Washington's last 13 games and going 7-3-1 through that stretch.

Washington has also seen its scoring rise to a respectable 3.21 goals per game since the All-Star break — due in part to a 29.3% power play.

Alex Ovechkin is looking more like his usual self, with 10 goals in the last 19 games, and younger players like Connor McMichael, Hendrix Lapierre and even Dylan Strome have become important contributors on a team that's going through a transition.

Curiously, the Capitals are now 3-2-0 since the trade deadline, when they were sellers. Kuznetsov, Anthony Mantha and Joel Edmundson were all sent to new teams in exchange for draft picks. But the Capitals are healthy, and beloved right winger T.J. Oshie celebrated his 1,000th career NHL game Saturday in Vancouver.

Calgary Flames

Though they were also deadline sellers, the Flames briefly looked like they might be able to make a late push into a playoff spot. But even though they earned home wins against Vegas and Montreal in their last two games, with rookie Dustin Wolf in net, they're six points out as of Sunday and would need to pass two other teams to squeak into a wild-card berth.

After dealing away Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Elias Lindholm, the Flames were bleeding goals right after the trade deadline. They gave up 18 in three games — all losses — against Florida, Carolina and Colorado. But Wolf has helped steady the ship while Jacob Markström has been sidelined with a day-to-day ailment — closing the door in one period of relief work against the Avalanche, then giving up one goal to the Golden Knights and two to the Canadiens.

After Monday night, the Flames won't play again until Saturday. So it won't be a challenge for Ryan Huska to turn to the two-time AHL goalie of the year once again.

Like Washington, the Flames have been so inconsistent this season that it's hard to get a read on which team will show up for any given game. They're 11-7-0 since the All-Star break and have been finding ways to put the puck in the net, averaging 3.44 goals per game.

Nazem Kadri has been hot, with 20 points in 18 games, and leads the Flames with 59 points. And 17 points for Jonathan Huberdeau over that stretch marks what is probably his best run to date in a Calgary uniform.

Capitals vs. Flames

Betting Pick & Prediction

For the season, Calgary ranks about three percentage points better than Washington in expected goals share at 5-on-5. But over the last 10 games, that stat has flipped: The Capitals are at a respectable 50.52%, while the Flames are at 48.17%.

It's certainly not the be-all and end-all. But with both sides riding unlikely two-game winning streaks and getting great work from their goaltenders, we look for any indication we can find in order to determine the best betting value.

The strong goaltending makes it tempting to consider the total, and PointsBet is offering a very reasonable -110 for an Under 6.5 as of Sunday afternoon.

But Washington is also a strong underdog, with plenty to play for as that playoff berth calls its name. Look for Ovechkin and the Capitals to close out their Western swing with their third straight win.

Pick: Capitals Moneyline (+120 at PointsBet | Play down to +100)

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