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NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Capitals vs. Predators (February 15)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Capitals vs. Predators (February 15) article feature image
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Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Juuse Saros (left) and Mattias Ekholm (right).

  • The Washington Capitals travel to the Music City on Tuesday to take on the Nashville Predators.
  • Both teams are looking to regain form from earlier in the season, but one side is taking it harder than the other.
  • Check out Carol Schram's full betting guide for this matchup below.

Capitals vs. Predators Odds

Capitals Odds +120
Predators Odds -140
Over/Under 6 (-105 / -115)
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Two slumping teams with big playoff aspirations are set to go head-to-head on Tuesday. The Washington Capitals will face off against the Nashville Predators in the Music City.

Currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division, Washington has just one win in its last four games, and Alex Ovechkin has gone more than three weeks since scoring his last goal. Meanwhile, Nashville sits third in the Central and looks to snap a two-game losing streak.

Here’s the latest on both clubs and how to bet the game.

Capitals Looking to Regain Form

The Caps closed out 2021 with a memorable New Year’s Eve win over Detroit, where Ovechkin’s third-period tally proved to be the game-winner and gave him the all-time NHL record for most career power-play goals.

Washington woke up on New Year’s Day sitting first in the Metropolitan Division, with a record of 20-6-7 for 47 points in 33 games.

Then, the tide turned.

In 17 games so far in 2022, Washington has a 6-9-2 record. While a playoff spot is still relatively assured, they’ve slipped into a wild-card spot. Their last outing was a 4-1 loss in Ottawa on Sunday.

Special teams have been especially grim. Washington sits 26th overall on both the power play and the penalty kill in 2022.

And after starting the season looking like he could challenge for the Art Ross Trophy, Ovechkin has cooled right off. He put up a so-so eight points in Washington’s first nine games in January, then went through a four-game pointless streak before managing one assist in each of his last two games — which were wrapped around a couple of missed contests, due to COVID-19 protocols.

Though Washington has never reached elite ranks with its possession numbers this season, there has been a dip. Since New Year’s, the Caps rank 15th in expected goals at 5-on-5, at 48.98%.

According to their PDO, the Caps were also enjoying a dash of good luck earlier in the year. Lately, they’ve come back to normal, with a PDO that’s right around average since Jan. 1.

Washington is starting a stretch of four road games over 12 days in Nashville on Tuesday. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek is joining the team on the trip, but he has not been back on the ice since being injured on Feb. 1. Forward T.J. Oshie has been out since Jan. 15 with his latest injury, an upper-body problem, since Jan. 15. He isn’t traveling to Nashville with his teammates.

With Vanecek still working his way back, expect Washington to turn to Ilya Samsonov in net once again. He’s now 15-7-3 for the season, with -0.3 goals saved above expected.

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Are Predators Serious Contenders?

For much of the season, the Predators have also been serving notice that they should be taken seriously as playoff contenders. Juuse Saros continues to hover near the very top of the goaltending rankings, with 17.7 goals saved above expected, and Nashville has been seeing solid production from its offense.

But is Saros starting to wilt? The 26-year-old has played more minutes than any other goalie so far this year. And with more than two months to go in the regular season, he has already appeared in 40 games, tying his career-high.

Giving up four goals in each of his last two starts is quite uncharacteristic. It’s the first time since mid-November that Saros has lost consecutive games.

The Preds can’t even complain about poor puck luck. Over their last 10 games, their PDO is 1.035, which means the hockey gods have been smiling their way.

Nashville also has a nicely spaced-out schedule this month, which probably means Saros will keep control of the net. The club’s only injury of note is a new lower-body issue for Nick Cousins, who’s now expected to be out week-to-week.

Capitals vs. Predators  Pick

Somebody has to win, right?

This is a tough game to call — two teams struggling to regain their early-season form with goaltending that’s less reliable than usual.

Though the Capitals and Predators don’t see each other often, they did meet up in Washington on Dec. 29, which resulted in a 5-3 win for the home squad.

If you’re looking at the moneyline, give the edge to the hosts in Nashville this time around. But based on the odds as of Monday evening, it looks like the over is your best bet.

Pick: Over 6.0 (Play to -120)

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