Ottawa Senators vs. Washington Capitals, 01/07/17 – Prediction
Written by: Stephen Sobek
Washington Capitals (24-14 SU, 15-15-8 O/U) vs. Ottawa Senators (20-17 SU, 15-20-2 O/U)
NHL: Saturday, January 7 @ 7:00 p.m. ET
The Line: Washington Capitals -151/Ottawa Senators +135 Total: 5
The Washington Capitals head up north for a brief two-game road trip as they face the Ottawa Senators in Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday. The Capitals have won four straight contests and are within two points of third place in the Metropolitan division. The Senators haven’t been as fortunate, dropping their last three games overall. They do come in as the fresher side, however, not having played since New Year’s Day.
The Columbus Blue Jackets entered Verizon Center on Thursday having won 16 consecutive hockey games, one victory away from making some serious history. Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals were ready and waiting, however, stunning Columbus 5-0 in one of the most dominating performances of the NHL season to date. Braden Holtby was absolutely fantastic for Washington in goal, stopping all 29 shots thrown his way over the course of the game. Defensemen Nate Schmidt and John Carlson each tallied a goal and an assist in the win. The Capitals looked ready for a fight, and they certainly stood up to the best. Only two Washington skaters left the ice with an even plus/minus total, as everyone else was out there for at least one goal.
The Capitals’ shutout was their fifth of the season, helping to solidify their league-best goals against average of 2.1 per game. Washington’s penalty kill is right up there too, denying opponents on nearly 87% of power play opportunities. Switching gears to offense, perennial all-star Alex Ovechkin is tied for seventh in the NHL with 18 goals, providing an electric boost on the first line’s left wing.
The Ottawa Senators have dropped three straight games, but their margin of defeat has been incredibly slim. Each loss has been by just one goal, and netminder Mike Condon has continued to fill in admirably for Craig Anderson. Condon sports a 2.35 goals against average with a save percentage of 91.7%. Neither statistic should jump out at you, but considering he’s started 11 consecutive contests under difficult circumstances, I think it’s fair to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Ottawa actually lost 2-1 on Sunday to the same Washington team that they’ll see later tonight. Kyle Turris scored the Sens’ only goal in the middle of the second period. Turris’ 13 tallies on the year are still tops on the squad in that category, two ahead of teammate Mark Stone’s 11. Ottawa failed to convert on a 5-on-3 situation later in the game that would’ve knotted the score up at two. After that important kill, it was apparent that Washington would have the momentum for the remainder of the time, and they did.
The Capitals are:
- 4-0 in the last 4 meetings against Ottawa
- 9-2 in their last 11 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game
The Senators are:
- 0-5 in their last 5 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game
It’s pretty clear to me that Ottawa has the ability to hang with Washington for a full 60 minutes, as evidenced by the close scoreline the last time these teams met. Unfortunately for the Senators, I think their almost week-long layoff will be too much to overcome out on the ice. The Capitals are riding the high of defeating the NHL’s hottest squad, and that should be enough to carry them to victory once again on Saturday.
The Pick: Washington Capitals -151
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