Senators vs. Capitals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Expect a Crooked Number on Saturday in Washington (Jan. 22)
Justin K. Aller/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Norris
- Washington looks to shake out of a funk when it plays Ottawa on Saturday.
- The Capitals are just 2-4-2 in their last eight games but are -200 favorites to top the Senators.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Senators vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
A date with the Ottawa Senators on home ice could be just what the doctor ordered for the Washington Capitals, who have skated through a 2-4-2 stretch of play while allowing 3.71 goals against per game.
However Ottawa continues to be scrappy and has been in modest form since returning from another lengthy pause. The Senators also catch the Capitals in a good spot, as Washington will be without a few key players.
The Capitals Are Leaky
The Capitals gave up a lot of quality chances in a loss to the Bruins on Thursday night, continuing a worrying trend of late. The narrative surrounding the team is that the goaltending has been the team’s biggest issue, but I think that overlooks the crux of the problem, which is that the team is starting to struggle defensively.
Vitek Vanecek has quietly posted consecutive strong outings and if you go back and review the goals he’s let in, you’d note they’re perfectly acceptable. So while Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov are not elite goaltenders, it’s fair to say that the team’s defensive play is the reason for the uptick in goals allowed.
Life won’t get any easier for Washington as Nicklas Jensen will likely join Dmitri Orlov in the press box. Both rearguards have been key pieces for the Caps this season.
This is the lowest point for the Caps this season and I do expect that the team will sharpen up moving forward, but it’s unlikely that this will be the game that Washington finds the strong defensive form it was playing with early in the season.
The team’s offensive numbers have also dipped of late, with the team scoring just 2.8 goals per game over its last five contests. Two of those five games were against the Bruins and one was on Long Island, so it’s probable the scoring woes are more a result of a tough scheduling spot.
Samsonov, who has a .903 save percentage and a -3.3 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in 21 games this season, is the likely starter for Washington.
The Senators Can Score in Bunches
More nights than not I expect the Senators to produce offensively, so the 6-4 scoreline in their recent loss to Pittsburgh is not something out of the ordinary for this team.
Ottawa boasts some exciting forward depth, led by breakout star Drake Batherson, Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris, and the team is in good scoring form with 3.75 goals scored per game over its last four contests. The underlying metrics suggest some regression, but 2.74 expected goals per 60 minutes is impressive nonetheless.
The expectation in the offseason was that offensive production would not be the main concern for this group, and I think that narrative will hold true going forward.
That said, the goaltending continues to be average at best and the Sens’ defensive play certainly leaves something of want, and altogether I do not see the team lowering their goals against average (3.67) by all that much — if at all — for the rest of the season.
Anton Forsberg has been the team’s best option in goal and should draw the start on Saturday. Forsberg has skated to a .907 save percentage and a +1.1 GSAx throughout 15 games played.
Senators vs. Capitals Pick
It’s easy to say that big-picture view for these two teams suggests their biggest flaws are on defense and in goal, while their best asset is their respective offensive production.
Ottawa has a handful of forwards who have trended into really strong form coming out of a silly stretch in which the team played just one game in nearly a calendar month, and with Orlov and Jensen out for Washington, it’s hard to see the Caps keeping the lid on the Sens on Saturday.
John Carlson’s status is unclear, but I actually prefer he play for this angle, as his defensive play is middling at best, but his offensive play is spectacular, and in my eyes actually raises the possibility of a higher total, and we actually gain value on this should he draw back in.
It’s hard to see the Sens holding the Caps in check as well, and I definitely think there’s enough of an edge for this game to go over six goals.
Pick: Over 6 -115 (Play to -130)
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