We have now completed 75% of the NHL regular season and it has gone as planned so far. Back in October, we wrote our season preview discussing how the season might pan out. At the time, the Tampa Bay Lightning were favourites to lift the Stanley Cup at +700. They have obviously strengthened their hand since then and you can now back them at a best price of +600 with CanPlay.
While others have fallen away from their preseason expectations, the Washington Capitals have surprised many and they are now one of the favourites to take to the ice in the Stanley Cup finals. Their preseason odds of +1800 have been cut in half and they are now fourth favourites to lift the Cup at +900.
We’re coming into a crucial time of the season with plenty of important games on the horizon. Let’s take a look at what this week has to offer.
Washington Capitals @ Vegas Golden Knights
17th February 2020 6:08PM
The Golden Knights have been steadily climbing the ranks in the Pacific Division. Gerard Gallant’s side are now in 3rd position primed for another long playoff run. They are only two points back from the Edmonton Oilers in 1st.
The Capitals occupy 1st position in the Metropolitan Division. The story of their season has been centered around captain Alex Ovechkin and his quest to score his 700th career goal. He notched goal number 698 on February 4th and has failed to score since. Will a return to the scene of his – and the Capitals’ – greatest ever triumph galvanise the Russian Machine?
Ovi is +120 to score anytime on Monday night. He had 16 shot attempts in their defeat to the Coyotes on Saturday night and that figure will likely be high again tonight. Bet on Ovechkin to have over 4.5 shots on goal at -115 with CanPlay.
Ovechkin’s performance will have a big impact on the final outcome of the game too. We think he’ll hit his 700 goal target and the Caps will leave the T-Mobile Arena with a win. Bet on Washington to win at +175 with CanPlay.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Colorado Avalanche
17th February 2020 9:08PM
One of this week’s big games takes place on Monday night in Denver as two of the league’s big-hitters face-off for the final time this season.
Tampa Bay leads the league in the win column with 39 overall. That includes a perfect 10/10 dating back to the end of January. The Stanley Cup favourites have been led by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos on the offensive end while they have one of the best goalies in the league in Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Avalanche are on a good run of form of their own. Jared Bednar’s team have won eight of their last eleven in the NHL. They have a well-rounded team with Nate McKinnon, Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog all performing at All-Star level this season.
This game will be played at playoff intensity with both teams hoping to show off their championship credentials. Defense has had a big part to play in both of these sides respective runs of good form. For that reason, we’re betting on under 6 goals at +101 with CanPlay.
Boston Bruins @ Edmonton Oilers
19th February 2020 @ 8:30PM
We’ll round off this week’s predictions with Wednesday night’s big game. It’s a battle of the coasts as the leader of the Atlantic Division (Boston) faces the leader of the Pacific Division (Edmonton).
Boston travels to face the Oilers in the first of a three-city Canadian tour. The Bruins lead the league coming towards the end of February and they show no signs of letting up with nine wins in their last ten. It helps when you have some of the best players in the league across all positions. David Pastrnak leads the league in scoring along with Auston Matthews while Tuukaa Rask has been the best goalkeeper in the league this year. The Finn has conceded just 2.08 goals per game.
The Oilers have been one of the surprise packages of this NHL season. Their preseason Stanley Cup odds of +4000 have been slashed to +2200 which still seems slightly high for the Pacific Division leaders.
The Oilers have managed to keep two of the Hart Trophy front runners, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, in their roster and they can now be considered one of the Stanley Cup favourites. Draisaitl is the NHL points leader with 95. 23-year-old McDavid has already picked up one MVP trophy in 2017 and he is the favourite to add another to his cabinet this year.
This one is too close to call but we’re backing the Oilers to shade it on home ice.