Stakes High for Capitals, Golden Knights
Not every NHL team is treated the same at this time of the year. For Wednesday’s game between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights, both teams need the two points that are on the line. That desperation will figure into the Capitals vs Golden Knights game analysis.
Washington is trying to move into one of the top three spots in the Metropolitan Division and avoid Florida in the first round of the playoffs. For Vegas, a third loss in a row could be catastrophic for its playoff aspirations.
Washington is one of the best road teams in the NHL with a 24-8-5 record. Vegas has won six of its last eight home games and scored at least five goals in six of the last seven contests at home.
The Golden Knights will be without forwards Reilly Smith and Nolan Patrick along with defenseman Nicolas Hague. That is not ideal for a team with little margin for error.
Team records: Washington 43-23-10 (fourth in the Metropolitan Division); Vegas 41-31-5 (fourth in the Pacific Division).
Date: Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET
Television/live stream: ESPN+
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Ovechkin Closing in on Another 50-Goal Season
When Alexander Ovechkin broke into NHL during the 2005-06 season and promptly scored 52 goals. Now he is two goals shy of hitting the 50-goal mark for the ninth time. He would join the late, great former New York Islanders winger Mike Bossy and “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky as the only players to hit that mark.
The 36-year-old Ovechkin is showing no signs of slowing down
Since the start of March, Ovechkin has 16 goals in the last 21 games. He is a major reason why Washington is third in the NHL in points percentage since that time. The Capitals picked up eight points on Pittsburgh and are threatening to move past the Penguins and into third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Ovechkin is at his best on the biggest stage and that figures into the Capitals vs Golden Knights game analysis.
Washington’s games during its playoff push aren’t 1-0 or 2-1 affairs. The only teams with more combined goals since the beginning of March are the Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues.
Time Running Out for Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights were once again expected to be among the elite teams in the Western Conference.
The first blemish started when Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury was traded away. That left Vegas with limited options behind starting goalie Robin Lehner. When Lehner played just six games in the months of February and March,Vegas went 11-12-1 to fall down the standings.
The offense ranked 27th out of 32 teams in goals per game during that stretch as Max Pacioretty played in only 11 games, which were nine more than Mark Stone.
Now it leaves the Golden Knights on the outside looking in. Vegas is five points out of third place in the Pacific Division and four points out of the final wild card spot with just five games remaining.
Vegas has dropped back-to-back games against Edmonton and New Jersey to put the Golden Knights in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time in the brief history of the franchise.
Capitals vs Golden Knights Betting Guide
When it comes to a Washington Capitals vs Vegas Golden Knights predictions, look for plenty of goals in this one, especially since Vegas allowed at least four goals in three of the last six games.
Sixteen of Washington’s last 20 games finished over the total including nine of the last 10 road games. The total has gone over in five of the last seven games in the Washington-Vegas series.
The Capitals vs Golden Knights game analysis isn’t calling for a low-scoring affair. However, it should be noted that the first game of the season between the teams did result in a 1-0 win for the Golden Knights.
Washington is fifth in the NHL with an average of 4.75 goals per game in the month of April but the Capitals have also killed off 92 percent of the opponent’s power-play opportunities. Vegas has one power-play goal in 21 opportunities in April and allowed a shorthanded goal during that stretch.
Vegas is coming off a head-scratching home loss to lowly New Jersey and, considering what is at stake, an NHL best bet would favor Vegas coming away with the win to aid its playoff hopes.