Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils

 

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On Sunday the Washington Capitals will complete a two-game back-to-back series with the New Jersey Devils after playing the Devils on the road Saturday. Washington has tied Boston at the top of the East Division and the Capitals are 10-5-4 with 24 points. Washington split a two-game series with Pittsburgh and its most recent games played, losing the opening game 3-2 and bouncing back with a 5-2 win in the second. However, Washington has alternated between wins and losses in each of its last five games played.

New Jersey has struggled to start the regular season and the Devils are 7-6-2 with 16 points. New Jersey is seventh in the East division eight points behind both the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. New Jersey defeated Buffalo 4-3 on Thursday night in overtime to snap a three-game losing streak. Pavel Zacha scored the winning goal for the Devils in the extra period. Twice New Jersey trailed by one goal during the game but was able to rally each time and then pull out the victory during extra time.

Washington giving up too many goals

The Washington Capitals are tied for first place in the East Division, but are giving up too much in their own zone as the Capitals are allowing an average of 3.32 goals per game and the penalty-kill unit has been successful only 79.7% of the time. The Capitals No. 1 goalie Vitek Vanecek is 8-4-3 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Backup Craig Anderson is 1-1-0 with a 3.63 goals-against average and .853 save percentage.

The Capitals are scoring plenty of goals as Washington is averaging 3.37 goals per game and the power-play unit has been strong scoring 32.0% of the time with the man advantage. The leading goal scorer for Washington is Nicklas Backstrom with nine and the Capitals center is also leading the team in assists with 15 and points with 24. The second-leading goal scorer for Washington is Tom Wilson with seven, while John Carlson is second in points with 17 followed by Alex Ovechkin with 16.

Injury Report: Alex Ovechkin is questionable for Sunday, while Michal Kempny is out until early May, Brian Pinho it’s out indefinitely and Henrik Lundqvist is out for the season.

Devils need more goalscoring

The New Jersey Devils are scoring an average of just 2.73 goals-per-game and the power play is scoring only 15.9% of the time with the man advantage. Through 15 games played, the leading goal scorer is Miles Wood with only six goals. Ty Smith is the leader in assists for New Jersey with eight and Pavel Zacha is the overall points leader with 12 and second in goals scored with five. Jack Hughes is second in points with 11. New Jersey has scored only 7 power play Goals across 15 games.

New Jersey’s blue line and goaltenders are allowing 2.80 goals-per-game and the Devils have one of the poorest penalty kill units in the NHL that has been effective only 58.3% of the time. New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood has returned to goal and in three appearances is 2-0-1 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. In New Jersey’s most recent victory over Buffalo on February 25, Blackwood stopped 29 of 32 shots he faced in net.

Injury Report: New Jersey does not have any players listed on its injury report.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Although Washington veteran star Alex Ovechkin is questionable for this game, the Capitals have enough firepower led by Nicklas Backstrom to pressure the Devils blue line and goal crease and come up with a victory on Sunday. Washington has won 9 of the last 12 games played on New Jersey’s home ice and overall the Capitals have won 20 of the last 26 against New Jersey. New Jersey has had its problems at home losing each of its last four and plays poorly when playing the third game in four days as the Devils have lost four of the last five in that situation.

Prediction:
Washington Capitals -135

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Washington is scoring plenty of goals with an average of 3.37 goals per game but the Capitals blue line and goaltenders have been suspect allowing an average of 3.32 goals per game. The total has finished over in each of Washington’s last five games played on a Sunday and in four the last five games that New Jersey plays the second half of a back-to-back

Prediction:
OVER 6