Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. What the f**k is going on here? The Caps scored five times in their last game but gave up eight in a 8-5 loss to Chicago to run its losing streak to five. Prior to that, the Caps scored four times combined in four games and lost all four. What, they forgot how to finish? The Caps have also surrendered 21 goals in their last four games, including seven in one game and eight in another. We’ll tell you exactly what happened. Washington’s extreme good luck ran out and that’s all there is to it.
We mentioned numerous times this year about how badly the Caps were playing. They were a team that was getting dominated often but winning. Predictably, Washington’s PDO (shot % + save percentage) has dropped and when that luck indicator takes a hit, the negative results will follow. The Washington Capitals are well below average in every analytical category both offensively and defensively. They rank 24th in Corsi For % (a proxy for puck possession) during five-on-five play. They rank 24th in Scoring Chances Against (SCA) and 29th in High Danger Scoring Chances Against (HDCA). We could go on and on and throw out more rankings and numbers but you all get the point. Washington’s 27-16-5 record is all smoke and mirrors. They built that record on nothing but pure luck in an extremely luck-driven sport. Stay out of the box and Washington is among the most beatable teams in the NHL. In a recent stretch, Washington had one five-on-five (even strength) goal in 15 periods of hockey.
The San Jose Sharks are the exact opposite of Washington. The Sharks lose because their luck (and goaltending) is poor. See that 6-2 loss in Florida last night? San Jose was clearly the better team but Martin Jones was yanked after allowing four goals on 20 shots. In fact, the Sharks have surrendered six goals in three straight games to Arizona,Tampa and Florida respectively. They outshot Tampa 39-26. Truth be told that it is a rare day when the Sharks get outplayed, outshot, outworked or out-anything. The Sharkies are #1 in the league in puck possession. In other words, no team keeps the puck away from their opponents more than San Jose. They are top-3 in just about every key category both offensively and defensively and the only thing we’re going to need to cash this ticket is some adequate goaltending from either Aaron Dell or Martin Jones.
Losing three straight and allowing six goals in each cannot be sitting well with San Jose players or coaches. Although the Sharkies will play three games in four nights and tail end of back-to-backs, we can’t imagine that they won’t bring it all here to avoid going into a 10-day break with four losses in a row. San Jose will outplay the Caps because they are the vastly superior team. That doesn’t mean they’ll win but we’ll take our chances with the team that will create more opportunities, give up less, possess the puck more and that also possibly catches the Caps at a good time, that being in a major funk and with a game tomorrow in Toronto. If we lose this one, we’ll get it back with interest tomorrow in Toronto.
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San Jose +123 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.46)