Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
When: Thursday, December 6, 2018
The Washington Capitals continue their visit of the west with a Thursday night matchup with the Arizona Coyotes. The Capitals are coming off a 5-3 loss to Las Vegas and the Coyotes have won four of their last five games including a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
Caps Have Lost Two Straight
Center Jakub Vrana scored two goals and Alex Ovechkin tallied a lone goal and it still wasn’t enough to get them over the hump, losing to the Las Vegas Knights 5-3. Goaltender Braden Holtby couldn’t keep the puck out of the nets, allowing four goals on just 27 shots. Vegas totally dominated the defending Stanley Cup Champions in all phases of the hockey game Tuesday night.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 5, 2018
Holtby is penciled in as the Caps starting goaltender on Thursday night. Holtby is 10-7-2 this season, including one shutout, and has stopped 559 of the 616 shots he has faced for a 3.00 goals against average and 90 percent save percentage this season.
The Capitals rank #4 in the National Hockey League in goals scored (3.59) and Ovechkin is leading the way with 20 goals and also leads the team with 33 points already this season. Washington ranks #7 on the power play with a 26 percent success rate, #22 this season in goals allowed (3.22) and #23 on the penalty kill with a 76 percent success rate.
Arizona Has Won Four Straight
The Coyotes have allowed just five goals over their four-game winning streak and a big reason why is the play of goaltender Adin Hill. He’s allowed just two goals over his past five starts and has won four games in a row for Arizona. Against the Kings he stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced, Lawson Crouse and Nick Schmaltz each lit the lamp, and the Coyotes have now won four straight and are hungry for more.
Did we mention he's 22? 😏 pic.twitter.com/bcpVtqiyQy
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 5, 2018
Arizona has a bunch of players on their injury report including goaltenders Darcy Keumper and Antti Raanta. Obviously it matters when your top two goaltenders are out but Hill has been amazing so these injuries aren’t earth shattering.
📹 Hear from Coach Tocchet ahead of tonight's matchup with LA: pic.twitter.com/VlhWMO5yk4
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 4, 2018
If Raanta is good to go, he is scheduled to be the starting netminder for the Coyotes. Raanta is 5-6 on the season and has stopped 318 of the 351 pucks fired his way for a 2.88 goals against average and 90 percent save percentage this season.
Arizona ranks #28 in goals scored (2.58) and their leading goal scorer with eight goals to his credit is Clayton Keller, who also leads the club in points (19). The Coyotes rank #24 on the power play with a 15 percent success rate, #4 in goals allowed (2.58) and #1 in the NHL in penalty kills with a 90 percent success rate this season.
- Coyotes are 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Capitals are 0-4 in their last 4 Thursday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
In hockey, the hot team at home is the way to go. Hill has been amazing and even though Raanta is scheduled to start, it doesn’t mean that he will. Hill has been really hot and even though the Caps are a high scoring team that plays well on the road, they will have a difficult time lighting the lamp against this kid and his defense. I’m putting my beans on the Coyotes counter on Thursday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
I think the total is the way to play this contest. You have the Coyotes who have a hard time scoring against a very good scoring team like the Capitals up against a red hot goalie fighting to remain in the NHL and he’s playing at home where he’s reached folklore status. If there was ever a recipe for a low scoring game, this would be it. I’m playing the under on Thursday night.