Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. There are 10-games to go before the playoffs begin and the Capitals have more questions than answers at the games’ most important position. Braden Holtby has been one of the league's best for years but seems to have caught whatever was ailing Montreal's Carey Price, who also went into an unexplained prolonged funk this season. Coach Barry Trotz has suggested he's going to split starts between Holtby and his understudy Philipe Grubauer the rest of the way, but the latter has started five of the last six, so there is no doubt who Trotz really trusts at this point. The Caps are 3-2 in Grubauer's last five starts including a 6-3 shellacking at Philadelphia. Beyond its goaltending issues, Washington is a mess both offensively and defensively, as it relies way too much three players to do much of the scoring. Below its warts on the surface is where Washington is really a mess. The Caps' record is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, as they are 25th in Corsi For%, 29th in Fenwick For%, but rank sixth with a PDO of 101.5, which makes them one of the luckiest teams in the NHL.
Despite the discrepancy in wins, the Stars are the much better team here. Dallas has lost five straight games, which isn't likely to stir up too much interest in the market, but a closer look shows the bounces aren't going its way. The Stars have outshot their opponents in five of their last six games. Dallas' five defeats have all come by two goals or less with two of those coming in extra time. Recent history between these two teams is a little surprising, as the Stars have won six in a row in D.C. and this edition of the Caps is much worse than those previous ones. While those past meetings have no bearing here, it does show that Dallas has not been intimidated to play in what has been one of the toughest barns to win in over the last decade. The Stars looked like a surefire playoff team a month ago, but now they are fighting for their playoff lives, which make them a very dangerous squad. They’re dangerous and tough as any team in the league as long as the goaltending holds up. Starting goaltending Ben Bishop left the Stars last game against the Jets and will be out a couple of weeks. Market perception is everything so while many may look at Kari Lehtonen as a downgrade between the pipes, the reality is that he's just as good, if not better than Bishop. Furthermore, the Stars rank higher in every key metric both offensively and defensively and they rank higher whether you break it down in two-week, four week or month long segments or overall for the entire season. This is a live pooch to be sure and we’re on it.
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Dallas +110 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.20)