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Capitals vs. Sabres NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Washington to Get Right (November 8)

Capitals vs. Sabres NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Washington to Get Right (November 8) article feature image

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin.

  • The Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres meet on Monday for a crucial Metropolitan Division matchup.
  • The Capitals enter the matchup as -250 favorites despite having lost three in a row, while the Sabres are also on a four-game losing streak.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks the game down and gives his top pick, below.

Capitals vs. Sabres Odds

Sabres Odds+210
Capitals Odds-260
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Capitals will host the Sabres, desperate to claim a much-needed two points deep in the middle of an absolute dogfight for playoff positioning amongst the Metropolitan Division.

Playing short the entire second line, the Capitals took a tough 2-1 home loss to the Flyers Saturday to make it three straight defeats, while Buffalo fell 4-3 at home to the Red Wings for their fourth consecutive loss.

Can we expect Buffalo to continue its freefall down the standings after a surprising 5-1-1 start?

Sabres Have Hit Four-Game Skid

Altogether the results for the Sabres under coach Don Granato have been positive, specifically when considering what has been expected from his group results wise.

The team was markedly better after his overtaking to finish last season, and a 5-4-2 record this season goes as a big positive consider the sheer lack of talent on his roster.

The defensive core truly offers no elite pieces whatsoever, especially as Rasmus Dahlin continues to have a very tough time suppressing chances at the NHL level. He and Will Butcher have combined for an xGF% of 41.7 over 168.4 minutes together this season and have been notably soft at times in the defensive zone.

Offensively the group doesn’t pack a lot of punch, and the regression closer to what most expected seems to be ongoing over their four-game slump, coming against some relatively weak competition with the Sabres posting just 2.25 goals per game and just 1.98 xGF/60.

One big positive for the Sabres has been the surprisingly strong play of Dustin Tokarski, who has stopped .915% of shots faced and 1.9 goals saved above expected.

Tokarski will likely start Monday against Washington.

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Capitals Face Goaltending Question

It was a hard-luck week for the Capitals, who went 0-2-1 against some very tough competition in the Lightning, Panthers and Flyers while playing without some elite forwards upfront.

The Capitals managed a 53.12 xGF% over the three contests and certainly could have ended up with a few more points given a few bounces.

The back end continues to doing a great job of driving play up the ice for the Capitals, and altogether they did a good job of limiting zone time against three powerful offensive units in limiting Tampa, Philly and Florida to 2.28 xGA/60.

A number of unheralded defenders have been excellent in the early going for the Capitals, most notably Nicklas Jensen and Martin Fehervary, who both have done an excellent job of forcing opponents early in the neutral zone and breaking the puck out consistently.

That is a very important area of strength for the Capitals for the time being, as goaltending results continue to be very average from the young duo of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek, and the offensive core is currently short some elite talent in Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, as well as Anthony Mantha.

Some depth pieces are starting to show better for the shorthanded Capitals, however, including top prospect Connor McMichael who has finally been rewarded for some positive play-driving numbers with a goal and assist over the last two contests.

It is unclear which goaltender coach Peter Laviolette will call upon tomorrow, but Vanecek has been somewhat better in the early going. I think it would make sense to see Laviolette go back to Vanecek in an effort to end the three-game losing streak after a good outing Saturday.

Vanecek owns a .908 save percentage and has stopped 0.8 goals above expected through eight games this season.

Sabres vs. Capitals Pick

Even short some very key pieces, the Capitals played some very solid hockey altogether last week against elite competition. I think this sets up as a good get-right spot against a Buffalo team that has begun to regress towards what most expected all offseason, given the lack of talent the roster offers.

The Sabres have lost four straight against some soft competition who will all likely finish outside the playoff picture, posting a -7 goal differential and a 43.02 xGF%.

The losses of T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Anthony Mantha are very meaningful, as the trio goes as the Caps entire second line, however, I feel that we will still see the Capitals drive much of the play here through a significantly more talented defensive core that has been in good form against some much more dangerous units than the Sabres.

I’m willing to lay the chalk on this spot and back the Capitals to get a win in regulation at -140 and would play it to -155.

Pick: Washington Capitals Regulation Win -140, (Play to -155)

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