NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Capitals vs. Kings (Nov. 17)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Capitals vs. Kings (Nov. 17) article feature image
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Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

  • Wednesday's Capitals vs. Kings matchup features two hot teams.
  • The Capitals are unbeaten in their last five games while the Kings haven't lost in their last four games.
  • Carol Schram breaks down this interconference showdown and offers up her best bet for the game:

Capitals vs. Kings Odds

Capitals Odds -120
Kings Odds +100
Over/Under 5.5
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds and Futures Odds here.

Two hot teams square off in a late NHL game Wednesday at Staples Center.

The Los Angeles Kings are back home after an outstanding 3-0-1 Canadian road trip, riding an eight-game regulation unbeaten streak. They’re hosting the Washington Capitals, who got a late goal from Tom Wilson on Tuesday to salvage a point. That game against the scorching hot Anaheim Ducks opened their four-game western road swing.

The Capitals are now 4-0-1 in their last five games. However, in the midst of a tough pair of back-to-back outings, they’re facing an uphill battle in extending that point streak.

Washington Capitals

With a 9-2-5 record, the Capitals sit second in the tough Metropolitan Division and tied for third overall in the league. Their plus-17 goal differential is third-best behind Carolina and Florida and their key advanced stats at 5-on-5 put them in the top 10 — seventh in expected goals at 53.32% and 10th in high-danger scoring attempts (HDCF%) at 52.77% — this season.

In all situations, Washington is tied for fourth in goals (3.50) and alone in fourth in GA (2.44), despite not having standout goaltending. However, while Vitek Vanacek has been given more starts — and took the loss in Anaheim — Ilya Samsonov boasts a 4-0-1 record despite his modest .893 save percentage and -2.24 goals saved above average. He’s likely to start in this matchup.

And while Alex Ovechkin seems to be on a mission to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record as soon as he possibly can, the Capitals’ special teams are also just okay. Only two of Ovechkin’s 12 goals this season have come with the man advantage.

Ovechkin enters this game on a two-game goalless streak, which is his longest of the season so far. He does tend to be a bit quieter against Pacific Division teams. He averages just under half a goal per game against the Pacific squads, significantly below his career average of .611 goals per game.

Washington’s success has come despite some key injuries. Nicklas Backstrom and Anthony Mantha remain sidelined, and Lars Eller was placed in COVID-19 protocol before Tuesday’s game. T.J. Oshie and Nic Dowd are on the road trip and skated with the team Tuesday, so they could be close to returning.

Los Angeles Kings

Following a tough-but-successful, four-in-six jaunt through eastern Canada, the Kings enjoyed three days of rest before opening a seven-game homestand against Washington. The Kings, who haven’t lost in regulation since Oct. 28, are currently sniffing around a Western Conference playoff spot.

Though they’re missing injured important defensemen Drew Doughty and Sean Walker, the Kings’ success has been built off its defense. They give up just 2.47 goals per game and 35-year-old netminder Jonathan Quick is putting up some of the best numbers of his impressive career in the early going. He has a .935 save percentage, 1.98 goals-against average and 3.60 goals saved above average, and has surrendered just five goals in his last four starts.

Offensively, Los Angeles won’t knock your socks off. However, the top line could get a boost if Viktor Arvidsson returns to join Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown after missing seven games in COVID-19 protocol. Arvidsson had five points in eight games before he was sidelined.

In a third-line role, Adrian Kempe has been a consistent contributor of late. He had a six-game point streak snapped in the Kings’ overtime loss in Winnipeg last Saturday.

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Capitals vs. Kings Pick

With possession stats that put them in the bottom half of the league, the Kings have built their winning streak more through being opportunistic and winning close games. It’s hard not to be impressed with the team’s resilience while Doughty has been sidelined, and with Quick’s return to the acrobatic form of his Stanley Cup years.

Well rested, with home-ice advantage, the line for this game has moved in the Kings’ favor since it opened at +108 odds. Yet, Los Angeles remains the underdog, and thus, a good pick against a Washington team that went to overtime in Tuesday’s contest.

Look for the Kings to open their homestand on a winning note.

Pick: Los Angeles (+100)

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