Capitals vs. Ducks Picks (GP)
By Rock Westfall
If the season ended today the Anaheim Ducks would be in the Western Conference playoffs by the skin of their chin. But they would enter the playoffs with the momentum of six wins in their last eight games. Momentum has also swung the way of the Washington Capitals. Fresh off a Stadium Series win over the Toronto Maple Leafs the Caps have won three of their last four. For the Ducks their success is based on an emphasis on defense and the stellar goaltending tandem of John Gibson and Ryan Miller. For the Caps its sniper extraordinaire Alex Ovechkin leading the way. The Ducks host the Caps Tuesday night.
Washington Capitals vs. Anaheim Ducks
Date and Time: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 10 p.m. ET
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
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Capitals vs. Ducks TV Coverage: NBCSN
Anaheim has a record of 33-21-12 and is one point behind the second place San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division. The Ducks are coming off a strong 6-3 home payout over the Chicago Blackhawks. Home ice has been nice for the Ducks as evidenced by their mark of 18-9-3-2 at Honda Center. Over the total has paid in just 13 of their 32 home games.
The Caps dominated a good Toronto team in a 5-2 in the Stadium Series game at the US Naval Academy. Washington leads the Metropolitan Division with a record of 37-21-6-1. On the road the Caps are 14-12-4-1 with 21 of their 31 away games going over the total. Only three of the Caps last ten games have gone under the number.
Washington boasts one of the top power plays in the NHL and ranks fifth in the league for that department. Ovechkin of course is a big reason as to why. The Russian has 40 goals on the season including 12 power play goals. Additionally, The Great Eight has 13 power play assists. Ovechkin’s snap shot from the left wing continues to be deadly. The Ducks may be able to counter the Caps power play with a strong penalty killing unit that ranks fifth best in the league. However, Anaheim has a terrible power play of its own that is ranked 24th for efficiency in the NHL.
Players to Watch
Another Russian has emerged as a key asset for the Capitals. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov has 20 goals and 44 assists on the season. He also has 18 power play assists in the role of feeding Ovechkin. Washington defenseman John Carlson plays a complete 200-foot game while bringing 12 goals and 41 assists.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf may only have nine goals on the season but he also boasts 36 assists with a plus-15. His leadership is an important intangible. Fellow Anaheim center Rickard Rakell has a team high 27 goals along with 27 assists. Defenseman Josh Manson is having a fine season with 5 goals, 23 assists, and a team best plus-23
The Ducks are concluding a four game homestand in this matchup. They have won two of their first three in that stanza. For the Caps this matchup opens a three game California road trip that will also include games this week at Los Angeles and San Jose.
Anaheim’s John Gibson and Ryan Miller have been one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL. Both have save percentages of .925. Miller has posted three shutouts in 23 starts. For Washington Braden Holtby has slipped a notch with a subpar .908 save percentage. However, Holtby is capable of more as proven by his career save percentage of .920. Holtby was stellar with 27 saves on 29 shots in the win over Toronto. Backup Philipp Grubauer has outplayed Holtby and has posted a save percentage of .922 on the season.
Head to head Washington has dominated this series with six wins in their last eight meetings against the Ducks. The Caps scored a 3-2 home payout over Anaheim on December 16. Six of the last nine games between these teams went under the total.
Capitals vs. Ducks Free Picks
Both teams are in good form and it’s not inconceivable that they could meet in the Stanley Cup Final. In a matchup that looks even Washington should be the better value.
Capitals vs. Ducks Pick: Bet the Washington Capitals money line.
Capitals vs. Ducks Score Prediction: Capitals 4, Ducks 2