NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Ducks vs. Capitals (Dec. 6)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin.
Capitals vs. Ducks Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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Two fun-to-watch teams that have been playing some fine hockey are set to meet up on Monday. The Anaheim Ducks open a five-game road trip with a visit to the Washington Capitals.
On November 16, John Gibson made 28 saves and Trevor Zegras was the overtime hero as the Ducks eked out a 3-2 home win over the Caps. As Alexander Ovechkin continues to progress toward Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal-scoring record, his team will be looking to exact a measure of revenge at Capital One Arena, where Washington is 8-1-4 so far this season.
Anaheim Remains Strong On Both Sides of Puck
The mid-November victory over Washington capped off an eight-game winning streak, which vaulted the Ducks into the playoff picture. They’ve been a more pedestrian 3-4-1 since seeing the Caps, but remain in third place in the Pacific Division.
Anaheim has been solid on both sides of the puck, as its plus-10 goal differential suggests. Over its last 10 games, Anaheim ranks fifth in expected goals at 5-on-5 and a very respectable 13th in expected goals share (52.17%).
Special teams are also a strength: Anaheim ranks third on the power play (27.4%) and seventh on the penalty kill (85.1%).
In net, John Gibson has been one of the busiest goalies in the league, with 19 starts in Anaheim’s 25 games to date and a 10-6-3 record. The Ducks will be in a back-to-back situation, with a visit to Buffalo set for Tuesday, so keep an eye out for confirmation on whether Gibson will get Monday’s start or if the net goes to Anthony Stolarz.
To his credit, Stolarz’s record this season has also been solid, at 3-2-1. He’s on a personal three-game winning streak, kept his cool in a wild 6-5 win over Vegas last week, and actually has a better goals saved above expected than Gibson (-0.1 vs. -3.3).
Captain Ryan Getzlaf was enjoying a resurgent season, with 20 points in 23 games, but suffered a lower-body injury early in the Ducks’ 5-4 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings last Tuesday. He’s now sidelined indefinitely, but his team has gone 2-0-1 since his injury.
And while the Ducks have plenty of young firepower fueling their offense up front, wily veterans Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk are making big contributions from the back end. Both are well-known for their power-play prowess; they’ve each chipped in eight points with the man advantage already this season.
Ovechkin Continues to Turn Back Clock for Washington
The Capitals have dealt with their share of hardship this season, especially on the injury front, but nothing brings them down.
Alex Ovechkin seems hell-bent on silencing anyone who doubted the new five-year contract he signed during the offseason. At age 36, he has 39 points in 25 games, third in the league behind only Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. He’s a plus-19, tied for fifth-best in the league in that category. And he scored his 20th goal of the season and 750th of his career on Saturday against Columbus. If he keeps this up, he could match his career high of 65 goals — from the 2007-08 season, when he was 22 years old.
The captain’s heroics have almost singlehandedly vaulted Washington into the top spot in the Metropolitan Division — although the Rangers and Hurricanes are giving them a run for their money. Washington is a very impressive 8-1-4 on home ice and goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who’s expected to start on Monday, is getting tremendous support from the players in front of him. His record this season is 10-1-1, and he has a solid 4.6 goals saved above expected.
Add that up, and Washington boasts a goal differential of plus-26, tied with Florida for the best in the Eastern Conference. But for all their success, the Caps’ underlying numbers are just so-so. Special teams are middle-of-the-pack, and they rank 21st in expected goal share at 5-on-5 over the last 10 games at 48.84%, sandwiched between Dallas and New Jersey.
Capitals vs. Ducks Pick
Washington is in a very comfortable section of its schedule, 1-0-1 so far on a four-game homestand where they’ll enjoy a day off before facing the Ducks and three more off days before seeing Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.
If you look at their home record, and their record with Samsonov in net, they’re an appealing bet as a home favorite.
But as they demonstrated last month, the Ducks could give them trouble. Most of the time, they play with good defensive discipline — Ovechkin was pointless and a minus-two at the Honda Center in November. And as the Ducks showed in Vegas last week, if they get into a track meet, they have enough offensive weapons that they can outscore their opponents if necessary.
At +190, oddsmakers are giving the Ducks less than a 35% chance of victory on Monday night. If you’re feeling bold and like the look of that potential payout, they may be worth your attention.
Pick: Ducks +190 | Play down to +160