NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils (October 24)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood.
- The Devils host the Capitals on Monday night.
- New Jersey is looking to remain unbeaten, while Washington seeks its first road win of the young season.
- Jonny Lazarus previews the game and shares his best bet below.
Capitals vs. Devils Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
The New Jersey Devils are starting to find their identity and are riding a three-game winning streak heading into Monday night's contest against the Washington Capitals.
The Capitals have had a pretty decent start themselves, as they've won three of their past four contests. However, Washington hasn't found a way to win on the road just yet as the Capitals are 0-2-0 outside of Capital One Arena.
The Devils' first two games weren't very pretty, but I have been very impressed with their start to the season. Their 3-2-0 record might not stand out so much on paper, but their underlying numbers leave me with high hopes for the remainder of the season.
The Washington Capitals have gotten off to an average start to their season. They are 3-3-0, but are unfortunately missing some key pieces due to injury. Playing without Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, Carl Hagelin and Connor Brown has really impacted their offensive production. The Capitals have a 46.1% expected goals rating, which ranks 25th amongst the rest of the league. They also rank 25th in expected goal differential with a -1.84 rating.
The biggest concern thus far for the Capitals has been their special teams. Over the past decade they have been known for having one of the most lethal power play units, but last season they started to see a decline in production that has carried into this year. The Capitals man advantage unit is only converting at a 23.8% rate and their penalty kill has been even worse. They have the 28th ranked penalty killing unit, which is only converting 66.7% of the time.
Another cause for concern is the goaltending situation. Washington brought in Darcy Kuemper, who, as most people know, helped the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup last season. However, Kuemper has had a bit of a cup hangover early this year. Sure, he has a 3-2-0 record, which is fine, but he is currently skating to a .899 SV% and a 3.04 GAA. Kuemper will really need to step his game up for the Capitals to win consistently.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils might not be lighting up the stat sheet, but their offense has been absolutely buzzing. The Devils currently lead the league in expected goals percentage (65.64%) and are second in the league in shots on goal per game, averaging 39.2 per contest.
The Devils big guns have awoken during this three-game win streak. Jesper Bratt has five assists during the streak, Nico Hischier has two goals and four assists, Ondrej Palat has three goals and Jack Hughes also has a goal and a pair of assists.
New Jersey hasn't had any issues creating offense, but it definitely needs to do a better job finishing.
On the defensive side of the puck, the Devils have been excellent. They allow the least amount of shots on goal, surrendering just 21.2 against per game, and Mackenzie Blackwood has gotten off to a strong start in the blue paint. Blackwood is 3-1-0 to start off the season with a .904 SV% and a 2.02 GAA.
The Devils have been excellent during this win streak and I expect them to keep this momentum going.
Capitals vs. Devils Pick
After an ugly first two games of the season, the Devils have become one of the league's biggest surprises — at least speaking statistically. New Jersey might not be the best team, but they have a ton of talent on the roster and are more than capable of competing with every team in the league.
The Capitals need to tighten things up a bit and find a way to play better on the road. The Caps have only scored four goals in two road games and their struggles should continue against a Devils team that has played very well at home.
I think the Devils will continue to ride the momentum they have picked up during this win streak and I trust Blackwood in between the pipes. I like the Devils to keep this train rolling.
Pick: New Jersey Devils Moneyline (-130)