Wednesday NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction for Sharks vs. Capitals (Jan. 26)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.
- The San Jose Sharks travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the Capitals today at 7 p.m. ET.
- Washington opened as -182 favorites. Since then, the Capitals moneyline has been bet up to -215.
- NHL betting analyst Carol Schram breaks down Wednesday's matchup and offers her pick for Sharks vs. Capitals.
Sharks vs. Capitals Odds
|Over/Under||6 (+100o / -120u)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
With just one win in their last five games, the San Jose Sharks are headed east to run the tough four-game gauntlet through what was formerly known as the Southeast Division.
The journey kicks off on Wednesday in Washington, where the Capitals have struggled to find consistency so far in 2022.
Here’s the latest on both teams, along with betting advice for the matchup.
San Jose Sharks
If only Timo Meier could score five goals every game. That’s what it took for the Sharks to earn their last win — a 6-2 matinee victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Martin Luther King Day. San Jose was dramatically outplayed, and outshot 41-17, but everything Meier touched during the first two periods turned to gold.
All told, the Sharks are 4-5-1 since the beginning of 2022 and remain in the thick of the wild-card battle in the Western Conference. They’ve kept their goals against to three or fewer in seven of those contests, but the other three were are blowout losses: 8-5 to Pittsburgh, 6-2 to Detroit and, most recently, 7-1 to Tampa Bay on home ice on Saturday night.
Since New Year’s, the Sharks’ Expected Goals Rate at 5-on-5 has dropped to seventh-worst in the NHL, at 42.22%. Special teams have also been sub-par.
The Sharks will also be missing one of their most important defensemen on this trip. On Tuesday, we learned that Erik Karlsson is expected to miss at least a month of action after undergoing forearm surgery.
Earlier in the season, the Washington Capitals were finding ways to win, even though they were dealing with more than their fair share of adversity. But over the last month, that pattern has changed.
The Caps closed out 2021 tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot overall in the league, with 47 points in 33 games for a points percentage of .712. Since New Year’s, they’ve gone 3-5-2, fallen to fourth in the Metropolitan Division and ninth in the league and are now sitting in the first wild-card spot in the East.
Given the disparity between the haves and the have-nots in the Eastern Conference, a playoff spot is still all-but-assured for Washington. And despite seeing his seven-game point streak snapped in the Capitals’ 1-0 loss to Vegas on Monday, Alex Ovechkin still holds a share of the lead in the NHL scoring race as of Tuesday afternoon.
Key defensemen John Carlson (Covid protocol) and Dmitry Orlov (suspension) both returned to the Washington lineup on Monday, but the Capitals’ offense was stymied by a tight defensive game from Vegas. Washington’s power play also continues to be an issue. It’s 0-for-13 over the last four games and a grim 14.2% for the year, which is third-worst in the league.
Capitals forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman Nick Jensen remain sidelined with injuries.
Capitals vs. Sharks Pick
Early in the season, both the Capitals and the Sharks exceeded expectations. Now, they’ve come back down to earth — as their underlying possession numbers have been suggesting for most of the season.
In the shortened 2021 campaign, San Jose finished 26th overall. So their starting point this season was much lower than Washington, which finished seventh last season. But there was lots of chatter this summer about how age might be starting to catch up to the Capitals, and some pundits predicted they’d miss the playoffs. Is the fountain of youth now running dry after nourishing Ovechkin and company so bountifully earlier in the year?
As the Sharks and the Caps work to get back on track, both sides know that someone has to win on Wednesday. Reflecting the oddsmakers’ lines, Washington is the better bet. At this point, their stronger overall pedigree, better recent underlying numbers and home-ice advantage should give them the edge.
The Caps opened at -182; I wouldn’t play them any lower than their Tuesday afternoon moneyline of -205.
Pick: Capitals Moneyline -205
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