Columbus Blue Jackets @ Washington Capitals – Verizon Center at 23:00
My latest NHL Handicap Betting preview is another divisional duel. The league leading Washington host Columbus in what should be a very good game of hockey. The teams are first and third respectively in the ever so competitive Metropolitan as they have already secured playoff births for next month.
Columbus mini-run snapped
The Columbus Blue Jackets’ four wins on the spin came to an abrupt end last night. They fell to Toronto by a scoreline of 5-2 as they failed to overtake Pittsburgh with the crushing defeat. With how things stand at the moment, both teams will face each other in the first round. This was the same outcome some three years ago when Columbus last made the post season. Pittsburgh won the series in six as a new rivalry in the NHL was born. The intermediate years were bleak for the Jackets, however they are back with a vengeance this year no thanks to the head coach. John Tortorella has drilled his players to perfection and is reaping the rewards before his eyes.
Cam Atkinson leads Columbus in goals (33) and points (60). The undersized American has already bettered his career best of last season 53. Not bad for a sixth round draft pick nine years ago. Zach Werenski is the leading point scorer amongst the Blue Jackets defencemen. The rookie has 47 in 72 games. The former Michigan Wolverine could become one of premier offensive defencemen in the game in the forthcoming years.
Strong finish for the Capitals?
The Washington Capitals remain first in the East (and the entire league) although Pittsburgh are just one point shy. Tonight’s opponents are two, as the Caps know that they have a chance to derail Columbus’ presidents’ trophy aspirations. Additionally, Washington are on course to winning back-to-back presidents’. The last team to accomplish this feat was Vancouver in 2012. Nevertheless like the Capitals, they are still yet to win the Stanley Cup. Is this the year that Washington finally shake off their ‘bottlers’ moniker?
Despite the Caps’ dominance this campaign, Alex Ovechkin is not in the race for the Art Ross or more surprisingly the Maurice Richard. The Russian left wing is on course for his lowest goal return in a full campaign since 2010-11 (32 goals). Fellow wing T.J. Oshie has overtaken his captain in the goal department as he reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career. The Combative American is enjoying his second season in the US Capital. He has already equalled his points tally of last year (51) despite the fact he has played 21 games less this year.
Columbus have won two of the three meetings between them this season. On the other hand Washington won the last encounter in January with an emphatic 5-0 shutout victory. Both teams have formidable records at home (Washington) and away (Columbus). I believe that this one is too close to call. Therefore I’ll go into the O/U market. There has been at least five goals in five of the last six meetings between the pair. I’m expecting another showcase of goals tonight.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 5.25 goals at 2.02 (including OT)
Prices correct at time of writing
Join Eastbridge for the best prices on US Sports!