Wednesday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals Betting Preview
Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Ottawa Senators
- The Capitals are home underdogs against the Lightning on Wednesday night.
- Both teams have been struggling lately, so is there value on either side?
- Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and shares her best bet below.
Lightning vs. Capitals Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
With the playoffs fast approaching, the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to get their games in order when they square off on Wednesday at Capital One Arena.
The Capitals are looking to wrap up a four-game homestand on a positive note. They’ll need to get all aspects of their game back on track following big losses to Carolina and Minnesota, where they scored just one goal in each game.
As for the Lightning, they’re making a one-game trip up to D.C. They’ll hope to get back in the win column following a 6-2 drubbing by Toronto and a 5-4 shootout loss to Montreal.
At the beginning of 2022, both Tampa Bay and Washington were tied with Carolina for top spot in the Eastern Conference. Now, they sit in the conference’s two wild-card playoff spots.
They’re currently tracking to be underdogs in tough first-round playoff matchups in the tightly-packed conference. And with just over three weeks left in the regular season, they need to get their games together in a hurry.
Here’s the latest on both teams and your best bet for the game.
Can Vasilevskiy and the Lightning Bounce Back?
Are the Lightning tired?
Over the last two years, no team has played more hockey than the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. And while the late start to the 56-game 2020-21 campaign gave Tampa Bay several months to rest and recover following their win in the Edmonton playoff bubble in September of 2020, the club had barely three months off after their second win on July 7, 2021. That’s even less time than a normal offseason.
That cumulative fatigue could be why we’re seeing the normally uber-consistent Lightning are faltering a bit as they close out the NHL’s first 82-game regular season in three years.
The Lightning also been on the road for 10 of 15 games since March 6, a stretch where they’ve gone 7-7-1 and waded through two uncharacteristic three-game losing streaks. Tampa Bay suffered a rare blowout loss on home ice on Monday, dropping a 6-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to make his 55th start of the year in Washington on Wednesday. And while he leads the NHL with 35 wins, his recent numbers haven’t been up to his usual standards.
Vasilevskiy is at a .917 Save Percentage and 2.43 Goals Against Average for the season. Since March 1, he’s at .909 and 2.88, and his 40 Goals Against are sixth-highest in the league — and the highest of any goaltender whose team is currently in playoff position.
That’s partly because he plays a lot, but it’s also quite unusual. Last season, for example, he was 19-7-0 from March 1 to the end of the season, with a .917 Save Percentage and 2.49 Goals Against Average.
Even through this rough patch, the Lightning remain strong in terms of their puck possession numbers. They rank 10th overall with an Expected Goals Percentage of 53.67%, and they’ve also been good on special teams, on both the Power Play and the Penalty Kill.
Just one injury to note: defenseman Ryan McDonagh remains sidelined with an upper-body issue.
Capitals’ Goaltending Woes Continue
Meanwhile, Washington has fallen off even more than Tampa Bay since its 20-6-7 surge to start the season. The Capitals are a decidedly average 17-16-3 so far in 2022. And while they started the month of March with a promising 7-0-1 surge, they’ve gone 2-4-0 since then.
Unlike the Lightning, the Capitals have had a relatively easy recent schedule. They’ve only played one road game since March 19 and had a five-day break last week. However, they came out flat in their return to action, a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Washington’s underlying possession numbers have been somewhat suspect all season, and that hasn’t changed recently. In their last 10 games, they rank 17th in Expected Goals (50.73%). While the Power Play had started to click during the winning streak in March, it’s now just 1-for-8 over the last four games.
At this point, though, Washington’s biggest worry is its goaltending. The March winning streak coincided with Vitek Vanecek’s return from injury. But in his last five appearances, he’s 0-4-1 with a 4.16 Goals Against Average and .863 Save Percentage. Ilya Samsonov’s season-long numbers are worse than Vanecek’s, but he could get another look on Wednesday. He’s 19-9-4 for the season and logged wins in his last two starts.
Lightning vs. Capitals Pick
Tampa Bay has edged Washington in the club’s two previous meetings this season: a 2-1 overtime win in Washington on Oct. 16 and a 3-2 victory at Amalie Arena on Nov. 1.
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, and these two teams are now in very different circumstances.
With goaltending front and center, and some of the highest-scoring players in the game looking to do damage, look for this contest to be more high-scoring than earlier in the season.
There’s good value on the total clearing six goals in this contest.
Pick: Total Over 6 Goals (-110 | Play down to -125)
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