Lightning vs. Capitals Odds, Pick, Betting Preview: Take a Stab on the Underdog in Coin-Flip Game
John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Alexander Ovechkin.
- Updated Capitals vs. Lightning odds from DraftKings list Tampa as a -145 favorite, with Washington at +125 for Monday's NHL clash.
- The total has dropped from 6 to 5.5, which isn't a huge surprise -- both teams are top-10 in expected goals allowed and getting quality goaltending, as expected.
- See how we're betting Caps vs. Lightning below.
Lightning vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Two of the NHL’s recent Stanley Cup winners will square off for the second time this season in the Sunshine State on Monday night. The 2018 champion Washington Capitals are off to an impressive 5-0-3 start thanks to the hot stick of Alexander Ovechkin and perhaps better-than-expected goaltending.
Winners in 2020 and 2021, the Tampa Bay Lighting have improved to 4-3-1 as they look to re-build team chemistry following several significant offseason departures.
Injuries Continue to Plague Lightning
After winning back-to-back titles, the Lightning were forced to dramatically re-work their forward group after losing Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson during the offseason. Their depth up front took another hit when Nikita Kucherov was sidelined in the third game of the year. He had surgery last week for his lower-body injury and is expected to miss at least two months.
But while Tampa Bay has faced some challenges in the early going, they’re coming into Monday’s game well rested and riding a two-game winning streak, after decisive 5-1 victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes. Steven Stamkos is leading the way offensively, with 12 points, and his linemate Alex Killorn is already up to six goals.
The Lightning snapped an uncharacteristic five-game power-play drought against the Coyotes last Thursday, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy seems to be rounding into form after a sluggish start to the season.
But health concerns continue to dog the team. Stamkos missed practice on Sunday for what was termed “body maintenance,” and coach Jon Cooper said he “hopes” his captain will be available against Washington. Winger Boris Katchouk and defenseman Erik Cernak also left practice early, although Cernak did return.
Another defenseman, Cal Foote, was recalled from his AHL conditioning assignment on Sunday and could make his season debut this week. He has been dealing with a hand injury.
Capitals Remain Unbeaten in Regulation
Though top center Nicklas Backstrom hasn’t played yet this season and winger T.J. Oshie was placed on injured reserve last week, the Capitals have barely missed a beat. The Caps have yet to lose in regulation and are coming into Monday’s game after a 2-0 shutout win over the Coyotes, and Alexander Ovechkin is back where he belongs — leading the league in scoring with nine goals in eight games. Evgeny Kuznetsov has been a solid fill-in for Backstrom, skating on Ovechkin’s line and starting the season with 12 points.
Also surprising — the Capitals are doing a good deal of their damage at 5-on-5. They rank fourth in the league with a 55.68% expected goals rating and seventh in high-danger scoring chances, at 54.20%. And while we think of Ovechkin as nearly automatic on the power play, just two of his goals have come with the man advantage. Washington ranks a ho-hum 19th with a 19.4% conversation rate on the power play — and is the only team to have allowed two shorthanded goals so far this season.
But they’re also the only team to have scored twice while shorthanded. That has helped offset a weak penalty kill, which ranks 22nd at 77.3%.
Capitals vs. Lightning Pick
There’s no obvious pick here — unless you care to go the prop route and back Ovechkin to score.
The Lightning are rounding into form and are playing at home. They’re usually strong at Amalie Arena, although they just got their first home win of this season in their last game, against the bottom-dwelling Coyotes. If Stamkos and/or Cernak can’t play on Monday, that’ll be significant. Keep an eye out for updates from the morning skate.
Meanwhile, the Capitals haven’t lost in regulation, and Ovechkin seems like he’s on a mission to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record sooner rather than later. And while the Caps are averaging a middle-of-the-pack 3.17 goals per game, their goaltenders are giving up one full goal less. That puts a team on the positive side of the win column more often than not — and since there isn’t much to choose between the two Washington netminders, that’s one less variable for bettors to factor into their decisions.
In their first meeting of the year on Oct. 16, Ovechkin scored Washington’s only goal and Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots. Stamkos pulled out the win for the Lightning with 15 seconds left in overtime.
With so little to choose between these two squads, it’s worth the risk to back the underdog for the tastier potential payout. At +125, the oddsmakers are giving Washington a 44.44% chance of victory.
Pick: Capitals (+125); play down to +110
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