Today's Free Picks for
Game 2 - posted at 12:15 PM EST.
7:30 PM EST. OT included. After that huge comeback in Game 1, most of the attention on the Blue Jackets has shifted to the loss of Alexander Wennberg, who is out after suffering a hit to the head in the third period of that contest. Removing the second line center would be a blow to any team, but the Blue Jackets are a deep and balanced squad. Stick trick sensation and former first-round pick Sonny Milano will draw into the lineup with a chance to dazzle after putting up 14 goals and 22 points in 55 games played in his first full season as a pro. Coach John Tortorella isn't going to hold anything back either, "We’re not going to play safe. We’re going to take some chances." That approach suits us just fine, as the Jackets are playing with house money in Game 2, but have a great chance to bury the Capitals and send them home early again.
The Caps will be gripping their sticks a little tighter tonight after blowing both a 2-0 and a 3-2 lead late in the third period that resulted in a 4-3 overtime loss at home in Game 1. Washington coach Barry Trotz made the somewhat controversial decision to bench number one goaltender Braden Holtby in favor of Philipp Grubauer, who did have the better numbers down the stretch. With that decision, Trotz painted himself into a corner and now he's going to stick with Grubauer. It wasn't Grubauer's fault they lost Game 1, but he also didn't come up with the big save when his team needed it. The Caps are going to get bet today because the market believes they can't lose both games at home, especially with Columbus missing a key contributor, but you are going to pay a premium to back a team in a "must-win" situation. However, the Capitals are weakminded and fragile. To a man, they must be looking around the locker room and thinking "not again". If that hasn't happened already, it will after the cold sweats break out at puck drop. We've been fading the overpriced and very lucky Caps all season and see no reason to let up now.
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Columbus +130 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.60)