Today's Free Picks for
NHL Series Price
Series begins Thursday, April 11th.
Posted on April 9th, before the 1st game of this series.
7:35 PM EST. When breaking down this Capitals team, it's hard to get a grip on what they are truly good at, as they are a middle of the road squad when it comes to Corsi For % (18th) and it's a rare the night when they actually outplay the opposition. What Washington does best is get the bounces. The Capitals have significantly benefited from a league-best shooting percentage, as they were tops in PDO, which uses shooting percentage plus save percentage to measure "puck luck." The reality is the Caps are keeping company with many non-playoff teams like Arizona, Chicago, New York and Edmonton when it comes to puck possession and time spent in their own end. To give you an idea of just how fortunate Washington has been, the Caps are ranked 25th in xGF%, which suggests that the shots they take are not of high quality. Washington ranks just 23rd in High Danger Scoring Chances For (HDCF). When you look at the goods under the hood, the Capitals do not compare to the Hurricanes in any way, as Carolina is an analytics darling. Washington’s power-play ranked 10th in the NHL this year so we suppose they’re good in that department. It’s also possible that the Caps kinda breezed through the regular season and their analytics mean little. That may be true but there is still a concern about just how physically taxing it can be to go through the NHL playoffs twice in a row.
In net, Braden Holtby battled through his second straight subpar regular season, though he turned it on in the playoffs last year and guided his team to glory. Does that switch get flicked once again? If it doesn’t, can backup Pheonix Copley save the day? If Washington wins this series, it’ll likely be because Holtby plays great and Carolina’s duo does not.
The 'Canes are not booking tee times in April for the first time in nine seasons and they deserve everything that they have taken this year after finishing the season ablaze. Since January, Carolina is 30-11-2 and they scored 149 goals, while only allowing 110 on the other end. That compares to what Tampa Bay did. The play of goalie Petr Mrazek helped to guide the 'Canes, as he posted a .921 save percentage in the calendar year of 2019. In 2018, Mrazek’s save percentage was just .908, once again proving that if you get good goaltending, the wins will come. The Hurricanes led the league in High Danger Scoring Chances, which is bad news for the Capitals, because, as mentioned above, they allow more high danger scoring chances than anyone else in the NHL. The 'Canes are a true threat, but they do not have the market stature that Washington does. That's our cue to step in. We have not seen one publication or media outlet play the Caps. In hockey drafts all across Canada, Capitals’ players are going before Hurricanes’. You can get some top Carolina players in the last two rounds of your playoff draft. Why? Because few watch ort pay attention to the ‘Canes. The Blues are favored over Winnipeg for f**k sake yet Carolina matched what St. Louis did in the second half.
On the ice and under the hood, the Hurricanes are superior in every way, especially defensively. Carolina will not be outclassed, it will not be intimidated and it will not be outplayed. Washington swept the Hurricanes during the regular season, which is another media selling point but one game went to OT and two others were decided by one goal (one of those was an empty netter added) thus, Carolina could just as easily been 3-1 against the Caps this year.
If one is giving Washington credit for a good power-play, one has to discredit them for a pedestrian penalty-killing unit. The Caps were also horrible on faceoffs. In fact, the Caps are the worst team in the league when it comes to draws, which leads to puck possession. Jay Beagle’s departure stings in that department. In the end, one would be hard-pressed to find a more modern team than the Hurricanes right now. Carolina is the best possession squad in the league and the defense is great at moving the puck and keeping it away from its own net. That this is the biggest overlay in the first round guarantees nothing other than we’re making the prudent choice here in a series in which our side holds all the value. We fully expect to cash this ticket and ot's also worth noting that Pinnacle Sports, the sharpest book in the industry is encouraging or welcoming all Washinton money, as they have the Caps a lot cheaper than everyone else.
Open an account today at and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
Carolina +135 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.70)