NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Senators (October 20)
Photo by Brad Penner/Getty Images. Pictured: Brady Tkachuk (Senators)
- The Capitals and Senators go head-to-head on Thursday night.
- Will Washington be able to overcome a myriad of injuries?
- Ryan Dadoun shares his best bet below.
Capitals vs. Senators Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
How times have changed. As recently as last season, the idea of the Senators going into this game as the favorites would have been eyebrow raising to say the least, but is it really that strange anymore? With the additions Ottawa made over the summer and the Capitals missing players, these two teams will look dramatically different Thursday night when compared to last season.
Washington is a pretty good team when healthy, but the Capitals won't feature anything close to their ideal lineup in this contest.
Tom Wilson (knee), Connor Brown (lower body), Carl Hagelin (hip) and Nicklas Backstrom (hip) are all unavailable due to injuries. To make matters worse, Evgeny Kuznetsov is serving a one-game suspension for high-sticking, so he's also out. To put that into context, Washington is missing three of its regular top-six forwards (Backstrom, Wilson and Kuznetsov) and arguably four because Brown had been serving in a top-six role so far this season. On top of that, the Capitals are missing a noteworthy bottom-six forward in Hagelin.
The strength of Washington is that even without all those forwards, it still has some great offensive weapons. Alex Ovechkin, even at the age of 37, has been his typical dominant self with two goals and five points in four games. Dylan Strome has fit in nicely with Washington, recording a goal and four points in four contests. Then there's some other good scoring options in Conor Sheary, Marcus Johansson, T.J. Oshie and Anthony Mantha.
The Capitals are also healthy on the blueline and being led by one of the best offensive defensemen in the business in John Carlson. In goal, Darcy Kuemper is likely to get the nod and although he hasn't gotten off to a great start with a 3.04 GAA and a .889 save percentage in three games, he's traditionally been solid and should be again over the course of the 2022-23 campaign.
Even still, Washington's offense is thinner than normal and that problem is compounded by the additions Ottawa made over the summer.
Let's start with the bad news. Ottawa's not a particularly good team defensively, nor do they feature good goaltending. Netminder Cam Talbot is on the injured reserve list and not expected to be available against Washington. Anton Forsberg, who has opened the season with a 3.38 GAA and a .900 save percentage in three starts, will probably play instead.
The Senators are a team built for fun, high-scoring games and they certainly can win those kinds of contests. After adding forwards Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat over the summer, Ottawa's top two lines are Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson followed by Giroux, Josh Norris and DeBrincat. Those are two elite units that should make life miserable for opposing goaltenders.
Ottawa did lose its first two games of the season while accumulating a modest three goals, but the Senators' offense came alive Tuesday in a 7-5 victory over Boston. The Senators need some of that developing chemistry to carry over into this contest.
Capitals vs. Senators Pick
If both teams were healthy, the over of 6.5 goals would be tempting, but the Capitals numerous injuries make me weary of taking that bet. Instead, I like the Senators with the puck line, even if the spread is 1.5 goals in Washington's favor.
It certainly helps a little that this game is in Ottawa, so on top of everything else, the Senators will enjoy the home ice advantage.
Pick:Ottawa Senators puck line +200 (play to +180)