Having played their most recent games last week, the Washington Capitals (4th in Metropolitan Division), enduring the second game of a back-to-back set, and the New Jersey Devils (5th in Metropolitan), having just returned from Sweden, meet up in Newark…
No Rest For The Champs
Having started the new season with a back-to-back stretch, which saw a 7-0 beat-down of the Boston Bruins and a 7-6 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last week, the Washington Capitals (1-0-1) are returning to work after a five-day break with another consecutive set, hosting the Vegas Golden Knights (Wednesday) and visiting the New Jersey Devils (Thursday) in a matter of 23 hours. The reigning Stanley Cup champions went 9-8-2 in games played with no rest last season and are 7-0-1 on their last eight visits to Newark. T.J. Oshie was leading Washington with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) ahead of Wednesday, while John Carlson (2 goals, 2 assists) and Nicklas Backstrom (4 assists) had collected four points each.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) October 9, 2018
Goalie Braden Holtby (1-0-1 for the year after the first two games with a 3.47 GAA and a .894 save percentage) was set to start against Vegas, so the trip to New Jersey will most likely give the season debut to back-up Pheonix Copley, who went 15-17-6 for the AHL’s Hershey Bears last year with a 2.91 GAA and a .896 save percentage. He has only ever appeared in two previous NHL games, both for the St. Louis Blues, allowing one goal on six shots in relief to Jake Allen in a 5-0 loss to the Nashville Predators in February 2016, and giving up five strikes on 29 shots in a 5-3 defeat against the Winnipeg Jets in January 2017. The Caps were entering the double-set, sitting top of the league in most goals scored per game (6.50), 10th in most goals allowed on average (3.50), top of the league in power play (50.0%) and tied-16th with New Jersey in penalty kill (75.0%).
Devils Beat Edmonton In Sweden
The New Jersey Devils (1-0-0) will also be playing after a lengthier break, having just recently returned from Sweden, where they opened their 2018-19 campaign with a 2018 NHL Global Series matchup against the Edmonton Oilers at Scandinavium in Gothenburg last Saturday. Playing in front of 12,044 people, the Devils won the game with a count of 5-2, outshooting the Oilers 27-19 and controlling the flow of the game for the majority of the contest. Kyle Palmieri opened the scoring just 58 seconds into the fixture and also netted a power-play goal at the start of the second frame. Travis Zajac also lit the lamp twice, while Stefan Noesen buried an empty-netter with a minute-and-a-half remaining.
Opening night at The Rock tomorrow. LETS GO 👊🏼 https://t.co/qAYpKR8pvi
— Blake Coleman (@BColes25) October 10, 2018
With Cory Schneider still recovering from an offseason hip surgery, Keith Kinkaid took the No. 1 mantle, stopping 17 shots with an 89.5% save rate. He went 26-10-3 last season with a 2.77 GAA and a .913 save percentage and has recorded a 2-3-0 career tally versus Washington with a 3.95 GAA and a .864 save percentage. Taylor Hall, who led New Jersey with 39 goals and 93 points in 2017-18, meanwhile, has picked up three snipes and two assists in 11 previous appearances against the Capitals. The Devils are currently scoring the 2nd highest amount of goals per game (5.00), while conceding the 5th lowest number in their defensive zone (2.00). Just like Washington, they have converted on half of their power-play opportunities so far (1-for-2) and are 16th in penalty kill with a 75.0% success rate.
- Devils are 5-1 in their last 6 home games.
- Devils are 9-3 in their last 12 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
- Capitals are 1-4 in their last 5 Thursday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Washington has an excellent record against the Devils, having won 14 of the past 17 meetings overall, as well as seven of the last eight trips to New Jersey. Having said that, the Caps will be playing with no rest and will give a start to a goalie, who has clocked up just 83 minutes in his entire NHL career. The Devils are a team, which can adapt to situations based on the way their opponents play, so they will have a plan. The Capitals, on the other hand, will be hoping their struggles on Thursdays (1-4 on the last five occasions) don’t come back to bite once again.
Prediction: New Jersey Devils
Full-Game Total Pick
The last four meetings between the two sides saw at least seven goals scored in each fixture, with the same happening in the very last four encounters between both in New Jersey. So, it is more than tempting to pick an Over here. The Devils will never limit Washington to just 12 shots on goal in the last two periods, like they did with Edmonton in Gothenburg. With Pheonix Copley in the crease for the Caps, New Jersey could, potentially, score loads itself as well. Yes! An Over!
Half-Time Side Pick
The Capitals have taken the first-period lead in three of the past four meetings between the two sides, with the other fixture finishing on level 1-1 terms . The Devils look good to bank a win here at the end. The first 20 minutes, though, could once again go Washington way.
Prediction: Washington Capitals
Half-Time Total Bet
The last three encounters between the pair have all seen at least two goals scored in the first 20 minutes, so expect some action in the opening frame. The Caps have already scored six first-period goals in their three games this year, while the Devils have averaged a goal per first frame in their last nine home outings.
Prediction: Over 1.5