New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Devils lost to the Capitals in a 4-3 scoring barrage. The Devils hope they can even the series but will have their hands full against Alexander Ovechkin and a Capitals team that is one of the best in the East Division and the NHL. This is going to be the second game in as many days and the players might be more fatigued over the course of the game but we should be in for another entertaining game like the one we saw on Thursday night.

Devils are struggling defensively

The Devils gave up 4 goals in the recent defeat and were constantly exposed by the Washington Capitals in the defensive zone. The defense has been playing poorly all season, allowing 3 goals per game and struggling on the backend. While Ty Smith, Dmitri Kulikov, and Damon Severson have played well, combining for 3.6 defensive point shares, the rest of the unit has played poorly and the goaltending outside of Scott Wedgewood and his 2.5 goals allowed per game doesn’t help much either.

In addition, the offense has struggled for the majority of the season, scoring only 2.5 goals per game. The trio of Miles Wood, Pavel Zacha, and Jack Hughes has played well, combining for 24 goals this season but the rest of the unit has struggled. The Devils only have two other scorers in their later lines with more than 6 goals on the season in Kyle Palmieri and Yegor Sharangovich who have 6 and 7 goals respectively.

Capitals offense continues to impress

The Capitals have one of the best records in the East Division with 21 wins in their first 32 games. The big reason for their success this season has been their play offensively, scoring 3.3 goals per game. Alexander Ovechkin, Niklas Backstrom has led the way with a combined 36 goals but the Capitals are also finding offense from the point with defenseman John Carlson scoring 7 this season.

Speaking of John Carlson, he is part of a revamped and an improved defense that is only surrendering 2.9 goals per game. Carlson has a team-leading 40 blocked shots while Zdeno Chara and Justin Schultz have combined for 3.6 defensive point shares and 62 blocked shots. In addition, the goaltending duo of Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov has constantly improved as the season has progressed with both goaltenders allowing fewer than 2.6 goals per game.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The Devils gave a great fight in the first game of this back-to-back where they were constantly responding to the Capitals’ offense with the scoring of their own. The Devils proved that they can pull the upset against any team they face but the issue is that their offense caught hot in the game. In the upcoming game, we can expect the Capitals defense led by Justin Schultz and Zdeno Chara to be able to constantly eliminate the Devils at the blue line and thus their offense. In addition, the Capitals should be able to pile on the goals in this game with the top line led by Alexander Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom overwhelming a struggling Devils defense. The Capitals should win this game and be able to cover the spread in the process with a resounding win.

Capitals -1.5 (+130)

Want another opinion on this pick?


Full-Game Total Pick

Both teams combined for 7 goals in the first game and the inclination is to believe that the upcoming game will be a low-scoring one. the important thing to keep in mind is that in the upcoming game, both teams will be fatigued more easily and thus the offenses will be able to continue to find open ice. The Devils thrive on getting their skaters in open ice, especially Jack Hughes who is best on odd-man rushes which should indicate a few goals for the Devils. Moreover, the Capitals should be able to pile on the goals in this game with Ovechkin and Backstrom constantly creating open shots while John Carlson can generate offense from the point against a Devils defense that lacks the ability to stop shots from the point. The Over should once again cover with both offenses piling on the goals.

Over 5.5