Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers

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Washington has won three straight and seven of the last eight. The Capitals are 16-6-4 with 36 points and are 2nd in the East division two points shy of the first place New York Islanders and three points ahead of third-place Pittsburgh. Washington has defeated Philadelphia twice and the New Jersey Devils once during its current three-game winning streak and over its last eight games played has lost only to the Boston Bruins. Washington continues to score in big numbers with an average of 3.35 goals per game.

Philadelphia has struggled of late as the Flyers have lost three of the last four with only a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Buffalo Sabres during that span. Philadelphia is 13-8-3 with 29 points and 5th in the East division. Philadelphia trails the first-place New York Islanders by nine points and trails its closest competitors the Boston Bruins by three points. Philadelphia’s goalscoring is above average at 3.25 goals per game but the Flyers are giving up too many goals at a rate of 3.17 goals per game.

Capitals need help at the Blue Line and in goal

Washington is allowing an average of 3.12 goals per game and the blue line and goalenders must improve their play in front of goal. Vitek Vanecek is 11-5-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average in .904 save percentage. Vanecek has allowed 56 goals in 20 appearances. Ilya Samsonov is 4-0-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. Samsonov has given up 14 goals in six appearances. Washington’s penalty-kill unit has been above-average with a success rate of 81.9% when shorthanded.

Washington’s offense has carried the load all season as the Capitals are scoring an average of 3.35 goals per game and the power play unit is scoring an average of 26.2% of the time. The stats king all season has been center Nicklas Backstrom who has team highs in goals scored with 10, assists with 19 and points with 29. Tied with Backstrom for the lead in goal scoring is Jakub Vrana with 10 and Alex Ovechkin has scored nine. The Capitals have scored 17 power play goals and are led by five off the stick of T.J. Oshie.

Injury Report: Lars Eller is questionable for Saturday, while Michal Kempny is out until early May, Beck Malenstyn is out until early July and Tom Wilson will be eligible following a suspension on March 20.

Philadelphia must tighten up its blue line and goaltending

Philadelphia is allowing an average of 3.17 goals per game and the penalty kill unit has been below average as the Capitals are killing off penalties at the rate of only 73.7%. In net, Brian Elliott is 7-3-0 with a 2.45 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. Elliott has two shutouts and has allowed 26 goals over 12 appearances. Carter Hart is 3-2-1 with a 3.61 goals-against average in .896 save percentage. Hart has given up 20 goals in seven appearances.

In the attack zone, Philadelphia is scoring an average of 3.25 goals per game, but it’s power play unit is below average at just 19.0%. James van Riemsdyk is Philadelphia’s stats king. The left wing is leading the flyers in goals with 11, assists with 16 and points with 27. Joel Farabee is tied with van Riemsdyk in goals scored with 11, while Kevin Hayes has scored 9. Claude Giroux is second in assists with 14 while Farabee is second in overall points with 22. Philadelphia has scored 16 goals on the power play led by 7 by van Riemsdyk.

Injury Report: Michael Raffl is questionable for Saturday, while Isaac Ratcliffe is out until late March, Kirill Ustimenko is due back in early May and Morgan Frost has been lost for the season

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Washington arrives in the City of Brotherly Love having won three straight and seven of the last eight to move within 2 points of first-place New York in the East division. Nicklas Backstrom, Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin are creating problems for opposing blue lines as the three are leading the Capitals in the attack zone. Washington has won six of the last seven played on the road, while Philadelphia has struggled on its home ice losing 5 of the last seven at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have also lost five of the last seven on their home ice when playing against Washington.

Prediction:
Washington Capitals +100

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Both Washington and Philadelphia are having problems in goal, as the Capitals are allowing an average of 3.12 goals per game and the Flyers are allowing an average of 3.17 goals per game. In addition, both teams are scoring above three goals-per-game as Philadelphia is scoring an average of 3.25 goals per game and Washington is scoring an average of 3.35 goals per game.

Prediction:
OVER 6