Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals are looking for away out of a losing skid. The Bolts have lost their last two games. It’s the same case for the Caps, who welcome Tampa Bay at Capital One Arena this Wednesday night. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our NHL odds serieswhich includes our Lightning-Capitals prediction, odds, and pick we have laid out below.
Courtesy of FanDuelhere are the Lightning-Capitals odds:
NHL odds: Lightning-Capitals Odds
Lightning: -1.5 (-180) (-138 ML)
Capitals: +1.5 (-220) (-320 ML)
Over: 6.5 (+104)
Under: 6.5 (-128)
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Why the Lightning Could Cover the Spread
After a hot four-game win streak, the Lightning have been struck by two losses in a row, as they got dropped by the Montreal Canadiens last Saturday in a 5-4 shootout loss and then again at home by the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday, 6-2. The Bolts can pick up the pieces this Wednesday night against a team they have already victimized twice this season. Tampa Bay defeated the Capitals on the road in October, 2-1, and then again in November at home, 3-2. Those are two tight contests the Lightning survived thanks in large part to the admirable job of their goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is still one of the best in the business. In those two meetings with the Caps, Vasilevskiy made 63 saves off the 66 shots he faced.
He will also be entering Tuesday’s matchup with Washington carrying a 17-8-1 record and a 2.69 GAA and .914 SV% in road starts this season. Overall, he owns a 35-15-4 record – the best in the NHL – to go with a .244 GAA and .917 SV%. Moreover, the Russian netminder is third in the league with a 23.4 goals saved above expected (23.4) among goalies who have made at least 25 starts.
Facing Vasilevskiy while their offense is going through an anemic stage isn’t certainly ideal for the Caps, who have just been limited to a total of two goals in their last two games. As for their offense, the Lightning boasts of a first line that rarely fails to deliver. Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov have combined for 13 goals and 28 assists in the last 10 games for the Lightning, who are 47-22 in their last 69 games as a road favorite.
Why the Capitals Could Cover the Spread
The Capitals are having a rough time finding consistency lately, as they have gone 2-4 over their last six games, including back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes (6-1) and the Minnesota Wild (5- 1) both at home last Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Obviously, and as mentioned earlier, the offense is a big problem at the moment for the Capitals. But there’s also their defense that was absolutely abused by the Canes and the Wild. Despite their recent struggles on both ends of the rink, the Capitals remain a dangerous team that can pull off a dominant win when it gets it together. They are 12th in the league with 3.2 goals for per game, 10th in shooting percentage, and 14th in saves percentage.
Perhaps resting Vitek Vanecek after a pair of atrocious performances in front of the net and starting Ilya Samsonov for this matchup against the Lightning will do wonders for the Capitals. Then again, even in the losses to the Bolts earlier this season, Vanecek looked competitive, turning away 45 of 50 shots he faced while keeping Washington within striking distance. Meanwhile, the Capitals’ offense will have to do better in converting opportunities. They have shown that they can win possession battles against Tampa Bay, as Washington has done that against the Lightning, outshooting the defending Stanley Cup champions in both matchups this season.
With Alex Ovechkin still playing at an elite level and a secondary line that features the trio of Anthony Mantha, Evgeni Kuznetsov, and TJ Oshie, the Caps have the firepower to frustrate Tampa Bay that had just been ripped apart by Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs . It should also be noted that the Lightning don’t seem to love playing under the bright lights of the Capitals’ home ice, as Tampa Bay is only 6-14 in its last 20 visits to Washington.
Final Lightning-Capitals Prediction & Pick
Vasilevskiy can’t be too happy about his recent performance during the loss to the Maple Leafs, so a strong bounce back is in order. And with the Capitals having issues of their own defensively – and offensively – being on the ice with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions isn’t exactly the most ideal place for Washington to end its rut.
Final Lightning-Capitals Pick: Lightning -1.5 (-180)