NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Capitals (April 24)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.
- The Maple Leafs travel to Washington in the second half of a road back-to-back.
- Washington has been playing well and needs a win for playoff positioning.
- Nicholas Martin shares how he's betting this game below.
Maple Leafs vs. Capitals Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-105|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Toronto suffered another tough result Saturday night in Florida, falling in 3-on-3 after a strong effort through regulation. The Maple Leafs will look to back on track Sunday against a red-hot Washington Capitals squad.
Washington should be desperate to get two points here, as they are in a close battle with the Penguins to avoid a first-round date with the Florida Panthers.
Can the Caps take advantage of this favorable spot?
Toronto Maple Leafs: Will There be Enough Energy Left in the Tank?
Although I truly believe the results of the season series mean very little in the NHL, it’s fair to say Toronto got the better of Florida this year, even if the two 3-on-3 losses make the results look otherwise.
Coming off a very up-tempo game on Saturday night, it could be tough for Toronto to rise to the occasion Sunday.
More concerning than the overtime less is the fact that top liner Michael Bunting left the contest early. It’s fair to assume any ailment will be treated with the utmost caution given that these games mean nothing for Toronto. Bunting seems likely to sit Sunday.
Over the past nine games the Leafs play has remained very strong with a 56.04 xGF%.
Toronto’s main concern is still its goaltending situation and the Leafs will have the lesser of two options in goal for Sunday’s contest as Erik Kallgren has been confirmed to get the second leg of the back-to-back.
Kallgren has played to a -6.5 goals saved above expected rating with an .882 save percentage throughout 12 games this season.
Washington Capitals: Win Needed for Playoff Seeding
Washington has clearly kicked its play up a notch and now has an outside chance at stealing third place in the Metropolitan division from the Penguins.
If the Capitals wish to do that it will likely take at least a 3-0-1 finish, though 4-0 will probably be needed. The Capitals will need to start with a strong effort Sunday and I think that is very possible.
Washington has managed a 7-1-1 record over it’s past nine games with an elite expected goals for % of 58.03. It’s been clear that this group is playing a sharper game altogether and there has been a sense of urgency in it’s play this month.
It’s unclear whether we will see Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov get the start Sunday. Vanecek has played to a -1.3 GSAx rating with a .911 save % through 40 games, while Samsonov holds a -10.0 GSAx rating with an .897 save %.
Maple Leafs vs. Capitals Pick
The Capitals have continued to play better of late, turning in a handful of convincing regulation wins over top-tier competition. The main outlier in the strong recent results was a notably poor performance in a 7-3 loss in Toronto on April 14th.
The Capitals are catching the Maple Leafs in the second leg of a road back-to-back and I believe we will see the Caps find a better result.
If Sheldon Keefe is wise, playing Matthews, Marner and the other big dogs heavy minutes in this spot makes no sense. The fact that he likely won’t do that offers the Caps another small edge. Toronto is essentially locked in to its playoff seed, which will be the No. 2 spot in the Atlantic.
Toronto is the better team, but I do not see that side showing well too often in this spot. At -115 I see value backing Washington to bring it’s best game and make life tough on the Leafs.
It’s also fair to say the Caps are holding a rare goaltending edge with either Samsonov or Vanecek against Kallgren.
I think waiting for the price at game time could be smart. The Leafs put together another powerhouse performance Saturday night and my expectation is this gets to a pick-em or better for the Caps.
Pick: Washington Capitals -115