Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:15 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. There is an old cliché that says, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”. Cliché’s stick around forever because they’re true and in the case of the Washington Capitals, we’re learning that Barry Trotz should’ve been paid. Trotz’s Islanders have not taken a shift off this year, let alone a period or game and the same can be said about Trotz’s teams in Washington and Nashville. Careless or sloppy they were not but now that the Caps have a championship and Trotz left, the mice are indeed playing. There is no chance in hell that an outfit coached by Trotz would rank dead last or damn near last in so many defensive categories.
The Capitals were winning a lot of games early on this year because their puck-luck was off the charts. We kept insisting that the numbers under the hood did not support all those wins but the Caps kept on burning us with undeserving victories. As luck would have it, the Caps’ good fortune indeed ran out and that’s why they have just two wins over their last 10 games.
Since the middle of December, a span of 20 games, the Caps rank dead last in High Danger Scoring Chances Against (HDCA) and dead last in overall scoring chances against. Be it offensively or defensively, Washington ranks lower tier in every category except the luck-driven ones. They rank 25th ion Corsi For % during five-on-five play and they rank 23rd in High Danger Chances For % (HDCF%).
It does not matter what metric one looks up that isn’t luck driven where you won’t find the Caps near the bottom. Coach Todd Rierdon is losing control of this team, as they have picked up a lot of bad habits without Trotz and to top that off, Evgeny Kuznetsov was benched last game in the third period. Trade rumours are also swirling in D.C. The Capitals may win here but this is not the same team under Rierdon as it was under Trotz. The Caps are now sloppy, beatable, less intense and less focused but they’re priced like they’re the Maple Leafs here when they should be priced like they were the Maple leafs four years ago. This wager is all about fading the Caps but do know that the Canucks are a very tough out and absolutely have a great chance to win this one.
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Vancouver +193 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.86)