NHL Hockey Predictions, Capitals vs. Ducks Betting Odds

NHL Hockey Predictions

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.

Special Teams

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

Scheduling Situation

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.

Goalie Report

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.

Key Stats

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


Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights Odds, NHL Betting Lines

NHL Odds

Kings vs. Golden Knights Picks

By Rock Westfall

The Los Angeles Kings enjoyed an early sugar rush of a new head coach to bust out of the gate with a very successful start.  John Stevens emphasized a freer flowing offensive approach than predecessor Darryl Sutter, but now the reality of the Kings roster has caught up with them.  Their lack of offense cannot be covered up for and they are back to the reality of what they always were and that is the same one dimensional defensively oriented team that they were under Sutter.  The Vegas Golden Knights are the sensation of the hockey nation and the first-year expansion team has the league’s best record.  Almost as important is that they play a high scoring attack style that entertains.  The Golden Knights host the Kings on Tuesday

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
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Kings vs. Golden Knights TV Coverage: NBCSN

Los Angeles peaked on January 2 when they were 24-11-5 and looked like a guarantee to make for the playoffs with home ice advantage.  Their collapse since then has been breathtaking.  Gamblers backing LA have drowned in red ink for the last two months.  LA is in an eight team race for the final five Western Conference playoff spots.  Just six points separate those eight clubs in the standings.

There is no doubt that center Jeff Carter’s four month absence due to injury was a factor in the Kings woes.  But the fact that LA was highly profitable for the first month and a half that Carter was out can’t be ignored.  Carter has returned to the lineup, but will it be enough?  Many NHL insiders believe that the Kings offensive woes under Sutter were never really addressed.

The Kings have been under water lately.  In their last eight games they have lost five times.  They have been a decent value on the road with a mark of 19-13-2.  Just 14 of LA’s 34 away games have gone over the total.

In their first season of existence, Vegas is in the President’s Trophy hunt for best regular season record in the NHL.  The Golden Knights remain in great form with six wins in their last eight games.  Home ice has been a big advantage for Vegas.  The Golden Knights are an astounding 24-5-1-1 at T-Mobile Arena.  Vegas paid half a billion dollars to join the NHL.  To its credit the league offered them good players in the expansion draft.

Special Teams

Vegas boasts one of the best power plays in the NHL with a ranking of fifth.  Comparatively the Kings rank a disappointing 17th for the power play.  This matchup’s Power play comparison is indicative of team’s respective strengths and weaknesses.  The fresh approach of Stevens has worn off.  The Kings traditional scoring problems that doomed Sutter remain.  Power play efficiency is a big reason for the Golden Knights amazing success.

Goalie Report

Marc Andre Fleury has had to fill the void for Vegas due to Malcolm Subban’s injury.  Subban is out indefinitely due to an upper body issue.  Fleury has a stellar save percentage of .930 with a 2.13 goals against average.  Maxime Legace has struggled in Subban’s place as backup.  Legace has a weak .872 save percentage and 3.79 goals against average.  Thus, Fleury is carrying a heavy workload.

For the Kings starter Jonathan Quick and backup Darcy Kuemper are among the top tandems in the game.  Quick has a save percentage of .921 with a 2.46 goals against average in 48 games.  Kuemper’s save percentage is an even better .932 with a 2.10 goals against average in 19 games.

Key Stat

Vegas is defying all laws of gravity and expectations for an expansion team.  Beyond being a President’s Trophy contender they also rank second in the NHL for goal scoring.  In comparison slumping Los Angeles is 18th in the league for goals scored.

Kings vs. Golden Knights Free Picks

Vegas scored a 4-2 win in their only previous home game against LA on November 19.  There is no reason to expect anything different in this one.  The Golden Knights have developed a true four line team that relentlessly attacks in wave after wave.  The scoring depth of Vegas cannot be matched by the Kings.

Kings vs. Golden Knights Pick: Bet the Vegas Golden Knights money line
Kings vs. Golden Knights Score Prediction: Golden Knights 5, Kings 2

NHL Hockey Predictions, Penguins vs Kings Betting Picks

NHLOpening Odds

Penguins at Kings Picks

By Adam Markowitz

After missing out on the playoffs in two of the past three seasons, the Los Angeles Kings are looking to get back to the postseason. The Kings have the best defense in the NHL and have rode that defense this year. However, that defense has had some major problems over the past four games, allowing four goals each game. That has led to four straight losses. Now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are coming to town, and the Kings better hope that defense is shored up.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings
Date and Time:Thursday, January 18, 2018, 10 p.m. ET
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
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Penguins at Kings TV Coverage: NBCSN

Pittsburgh has not fared well on the road this season. The Penguins have won just nine of their 23 road games and will be behind the eight ball in this one. Whereas the Kings get a few days of rest prior to this game, the Penguins play Anaheim on Wednesday night and will have to travel to face San Jose on Saturday.

The Penguins were a middling team for the first two months of the season, but they have turned it on in recent weeks just like they have in past years. They have won four straight coming into this one, thanks to an offense that has scored 19 goals in those four games.

Los Angeles is one of the rare teams that is better on the road than at home. The Kings have won just half of their home games this season and are 6-16 on the goal line in the Staples Center. During this recent poor stretch of play, the last three games have been at home.

Injuries to Watch

The Kings have been without Jeff Carter all season long. He has been sidelined with an ankle injury, but the team recently got good news as he has finally returned to the ice and is skating on his own.

Not having Carter hasn’t been easy, but this team has really struggled since defenseman Jake Muzzin went on IR with an upper-body injury. It’s no surprise that this team’s defensive collapse has happened with him out of the lineup. The Kings need to get him back soon.

Chad Ruhwedel and Bryan Rust have been on injured reserve with upper-body injuries since the tail end of December, and Carter Rowney was added to IR for that same reason a week later. Ruhwedel may be able to go, but Rust and Rowney will be out for a few weeks longer.

Pittsburgh got good news too when it was announced that Matt Murray would make the West Coast road trip with the team. Murray has been out for the last two games for personal reasons, and his status was up in the air for this trip.

Matchup to Watch

The league’s best power play will face off against the league’s best penalty kill in this one.

With so much talent, it’s no wonder that Pittsburgh has the most effective power play in the NHL. The Penguins have scored on 26.5 percent of their chances as teams eventually crack under the waves of pressure that they can bring. The big three of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel have starred on the man advantage with the trio combining for 25 goals.

Los Angeles has allowed a power play goal in two if its last three games without Muzzin available. Still this is the NHL’s top defense and is tops at killing off penalties too. The Kings have successfully killed off 87.1 percent of power plays this season. That has helped them keep winning in spite of a middling offense.

Penguins at Kings Free Picks

Not having Muzzin is huge for the Kings. However, Pittsburgh won’t be able to take advantage of his absence. This is no longer a young team and road games in back-to-back nights take a toll. Anaheim plays a particularly physical brand of hockey, so Pittsburgh will be bruised heading into this one. That’s all the advantage LA needs.

Penguins at Kings Pick: Back the Kings at home
Penguins at Kings Score Prediction: Kings2 – Penguins 1

NHL Hockey Betting Odds, Rangers vs Penguins Lines

NHL Odds

Rangers at Penguins Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in serious danger of missing out on the postseason. The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions are currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and have a goal differential of -12. They have been playing better in recent weeks, but a terrible December put them behind the eight ball in the conference.

Pittsburgh will play host to the New York Rangers this weekend. The Rangers have overcome an awful start to the season and are battling for a playoff spot. A road win against a division rival would be nice.

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Date and Time: Sunday, January 14, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Rangers at Penguins TV Coverage: NBCSN

Both of these teams will be playing on Saturday afternoon, so fatigue may be a little bit of a factor.

Pittsburgh has won three of its last four. However, the Penguins have not won a home game in regulation in quite a long time. The last time the Pens won a home game without going to overtime was all the way back on December 2, when they beat Buffalo 5-1. Since then, they have played eight home games. They lost four in regulation, won two in overtime, and won two in a shootout.

The Rangers have a knack of getting at least a point in each of their road games. Although they lost 2-1 to Vegas in their last road game, this team had ended regulation tied up in five straight road tilts prior to that. Under has been a great play in Rangers games recently, with 10 of their last 13 finishing under the total.

Injuries to Watch

New York’s Chris Kreider will be out for at least another month after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot. The Rangers might have another winger back for this one though as Kevin Hayes looks set to return from a concussion.

For Pittsburgh, Carter Rowney and Bryan Rust will be out for a significant amount of time. However, it looks like defenseman Chad Ruhwedel might be able to return for this one.

Key Stats

The main thing keeping Pittsburgh in the mix is its success on the power play. The Penguins have the NHL’s best power play, finding the back of the net on 26.6 percent of their opportunities this year.

This team has been on fire on the power play over its last nine games. Pittsburgh found the back of the net in six of those games and scored twice on the power play in four of those tilts. Through the nine games, the Penguins are 10-26 on the man advantage. That’s an incredible number over a significant period of time.

To make things easier, the penalty kill is one of the ten best units in the NHL. Pittsburgh has successfully killed off all penalties in seven straight games. Opponents had a combined 17 power play opportunities in those games, and the Penguins defenders helped them get some needed points by blanking them.

Player to Watch

New York has had a hard time generating offense over the last couple weeks. The Rangers have tallied just eight goals in their last five games, so one of their scorers needs to get back on track.

We all knew that Michael Grabner was going to come back down to Earth after his hot start, so now it’s up to players like Mika Zibanejad to start finding the back of the net for the Rangers. Zibanejad is second on the team in scoring, but has scored almost half of his goals on the power play. He needs to start scoring at even strength.

Rangers at Penguins Free Picks

These teams are very familiar with each other. They have already met twice this year with both games going over the total and the road teams winning each time.

Pittsburgh is going to be favored here, but with how it has played at home, the Rangers are a great bet. You can get them at a good price and should back them here.

Rangers at Penguins Pick: Back the Rangers on the road
Rangers at Penguins Score Prediction: Rangers 3 – Penguins 2

NHL Hockey Betting Picks, Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals Odds

NHL Odds

Bruins at Capitals Picks

By Adam Markowitz

For the second time in two nights, the Washington Capitals will be on national television when they host the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. Washington has started to come alive in the month of December and is looking to keep the momentum it built up before Christmas. The Caps have been one of the best regular season teams in the NHL for the last decade, but have yet to reach even the Eastern Conference Finals. This year they are hoping for things to be different.

Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
Date and Time: Thursday, December 28, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
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Bruins at Capitals TV Coverage: NBCSN

Boston has won its last four games coming into this one, taking care of business as a favorite all four times. The defense has been great during that stretch, allowing just four goals, and that helped the under to go 3-1 in that time. This is one of the more defensive minded clubs you will find, and the Bruins have seen 19 of their 34 games go under the total.

The Capitals lost their last two games before the break. Washington just couldn’t find much offense out west against Arizona and Las Vegas. However, before that point, the Caps had won eight of nine, including a win over Boston on the road in that stretch. This team hasn’t lost at home since November 30, and is 14-5 on home ice this season.

Last Meeting

Boston is hoping its luck will change playing Washington in a new venue. The Bruins have lost both of their home games to the Capitals already this season, getting outscored 8-4.

These two teams met two weeks ago in Beantown, with Washington pouring it on in the third period in order to get the win. Two Alex Chiasson goals, one shorthanded, midway through the period put the Caps up 4-1, and it was all over from that point.

Special teams were extremely important in that meeting. Boston and Washington combined to tally three power play goals on nine chances and Chiasson had the shortie as previously mentioned.

Additionally, what killed Boston was its inability to outscore Washington in the second period despite outshooting the Capitals 13-3. Both teams tallied a goal in that frame and that kept the pressure on Boston.

Player to Watch

Braden Holtby has been a Vezina contender for each of the last three seasons, but has not played well so far this year. Holtby is in his late 20s, and the Caps believed that the future was bright for him after posting a career-low 2.07 GAA in 2016-17.

Unfortunately, his numbers have regressed in a big way now that he no longer has some of the first-class defensemen he once did. Holtby has a 2.65 GAA this season and has seen far more shots this year than in the last three seasons.

His save percentage has taken a slight dip, so it’s obvious the main culprit is the defense. However, at the end of the day, it’s Holtby that gets the credit or the blame for how many goals the opponent scores. He has allowed at least two goals in each of his last five outings.

Bruins at Capitals Free Picks

Washington’s success this season is a little curious when you look at certain stats. There is usually a good correlation between shots taken and shots allowed and a team’s success, but the Caps have thrown that out the window. They are getting outshot by an average of three shots a game, yet keep finding ways to win games. Neither of the special teams units have been that good, and still their pucks keep finding their way into the back of the net.

That’s why I’m going to go with the underdog here. Boston is good enough on the defensive end to stop Washington, and the Bruins were a little unlucky the last time these teams met. Back Boston to pull off the upset as a good-sized underdog.

Bruins at Capitals Pick: Grab the Bruins on the moneyline
Bruins at Capitals Score Prediction: Bruins 4 – Capitals 2