NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Sharks (Nov. 20)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Sharks (Nov. 20) article feature image
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Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

  • Washington heads to San Jose for some late Saturday NHL action.
  • The Sharks return home after a five-game road trip and are slight -105 underdogs against the Capitals.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Capitals vs. Sharks Odds

Capitals Odds -115
Sharks Odds -105
Over/Under 5.5
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Short-handed Washington will limp in to San Jose to take on the Sharks, who looking to build on a 6-2-2 stretch of play after a gutty 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Wednesday’s NHL action.

San Jose will be relieved to return home after a 2-3 road trip featuring contests against very tough opposition, culminating in a 4-1 loss to the Blues Thursday.

Can San Jose show closer to its early season form against a strong Washington squad or will the Sharks continue to regress closer to what most expected this season?

Washington Capitals

The Capitals continue to post impressive results, and the tremendous play in the early going of all six defenders, who have each played in all 17 contests, continues to be a massive reason why since the injury situation upfront has been nothing short of disastrous for Coach Peter Laviolette.

Washington has gone without its entire second line, among other players, for several weeks and have still managed a 5-0-1 stretch of play with some impressive underlying numbers.

Nick Jensen continues to display spectacular play on a pairing with Dmitri Orlov, which has deserved a ton of credit in the early going holding an xGF% of 52.5 over 246.1 minutes together, mainly against opposition’s top forwards.

Martin Fehervary has been a tremendous story for Washington as well, as the rookie defensemen’s solid play has greatly stabilized John Carlson at 5-on-5, with the two posting a 55.3 xGF% together this season.

Some forward reinforcements may be nearing returns as well, as two very important pieces in T.J. Oshie and Nick Dowd were full participants in practice Friday and could likely return to the lineup. They’d both be massive additions to a lineup which currently features some pieces not ready to be effective everyday NHL players.

Oshie has been one of the Capitals’ most consistent players on a game-by-game basis in recent years, and offers upside in a ton of areas of the ice to coach Peter Laviolette, including a potential boost to the Capitals power play. That area has been a surprising failure for Washington at just 17.0%. Oshie is excellent in the bumper position, and will make it harder for opposition penalty kills to cheat on the Ovechkin and Carlson one-timers up high in the zone.

It’s unclear whether Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov will draw the start for the Capitals, but both have comparable numbers again and will likely battle all season long for the starting role to begin the postseason.

Samsonov owns a .914 save %, as well as a 0.6 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx), while Vanecek holds a .911 save % and a -0.8 GSAx rating.

San Jose Sharks

After an impressive 4-0 start to the season, the Sharks have dropped off have slowly dropped off and now sit 8-7-1 altogether, still a cause for optimism compared to what might have been expected, especially considering a stretch of that came with a dreadful COVID-19 protocol situation.

The regression from that red-hot start seems natural considering some of the holes in the lineup though, and through the month of November the Sharks own an xGF% of just 46.27 to go alongside lesser results in the win-loss column.

Erik Karlsson has clearly been in better form, which has gone as a very enjoyable story for a lovable guy who has been through some tough years, and is a big reason for the Sharks improved play this season.

However, this is still altogether a shaky defensive corps, and the reliance on Brent Burns to eat big minutes on a pairing with Mario Ferraro continues to allow a lot of chances for the opposition, with the duo owning an xGF% of 44.8 this season.

It’s unclear whether coach Bob Boughner will look toward Adin Hill or James Reimer for the start, but it would seem leaning toward James Reimer again is likely.

Reimer has stopped .938 % of shots faced this season, with an excellent 7.1 GSAx rating, and has been a very positive story for a Sharks team that hasn’t received solid goaltending in recent years.

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Capitals vs. Sharks  Pick

After a hot start the Sharks have began the natural regression many expected, and even with Washington conceivably skating a lesser forward unit than what San Jose can currently offer, I think its excellent defense still allows them a big chance to control more of the play here.

Andat close to Pick’em, I see some value in backing the Capitals even without confirmations toward Oshie and Dowd’s availability.

As well, should Oshie and Dowd draw back in, we would really be happy with a price of -115, as the Capitals have been posting excellent results minus the two, but both are very complete players who have been among Washington’s more consistent players in all areas of the ice in recent years.

Pick: Washington (-115) — play to -130

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