The Boston Bruins have long been one of the annual top contenders in the Eastern Conference. Boston’s method for success has always been a strong and physical defensive presence with excellent goaltending. This year it has proven to not be enough as a lack of consistency and secondary scoring on offense has offset the strong back end play. For the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, the opposite problems have been the case. Washington has no problem scoring with captain Alex Ovechkin as strong as ever. Defense and goaltending have proven to be a drag on the Caps long term prospects and ability to repeat as champions.
Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals
Date and Time: Sunday, February 3, 2019, 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
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Bruins vs. Capitals TV Coverage: NBC
For this matchup of two marquee traditional powers Betting action should remain even. Both teams have struggled recently and yet both are also still among the top tier of the NHL. More savvy trend handicappers will remember the Capitals dominance of this head to head series.
Neither team has been a very reliable bet lately but for very different reasons. As mentioned earlier the Caps and Bruins have opposite strengths and weaknesses. But what has been most concerning of all is the Capitals sloppy defensive play under head coach Todd Reirden. Last year under Barry Trotz the Caps would make the full commitment to playing a 200-foot game and the back check. That has simply not been the case so far this season and that has often left goaltender Braden Holtby hung out to dry.
As one would expect the Capitals are a strong offensive club as evidenced by their NHL rankings of eighth for goals scored and 10th for the power play. But much of that is surrendered by Washington’s weak numbers on the back end in which they rank 23rd for goals against and 25th for the penalty kill.
Boston has struggled on the offensive side of the ice, especially at even strength. The Bruins have NHL rankings of 18th for goal scoring although they are a much better second for the power play. Defensively the Bruins rank fourth for goals against but 16th for the penalty kill.
Washington has been getting subpar goaltending lately from its tandem of Pheonix Copley and Braden Holtby. Copley has a save percentage of .903 while Holtby is at .905 and reminding everyone why he was riding the bench at the start of the playoffs last spring.
Boston netminder Tuukka Rask has a save percentage of .919 but is questionable with concussion issues. Jaroslav Halak has been nearly as good with a save percentage of .918. Halak has posted three shutouts on the season.
Players to Watch
Boston is led by a strong pair of left wingers in David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Pastrnak has 28 goals with 31 assists while Marchand has added 19 goals with 37 assists.
Of course, the Capitals will boast the best player on the ice in left wing Alex Ovechkin. “The Great Eight” has 37 goals with 20 assists and a plus nine. Center Nicklas Backstrom has 13 goals with a whopping 38 assists with a plus ten.
Free NHL Live Betting Odds Pick
Washington has won 14 games in a row against the Bruins including seven straight wins at home over Boston. The Caps and Bruins have also gone over the total in their last four matchups at Capital One Arena. As bad as both teams have been the Capitals must rate the call based on their head to head dominance of this series. Boston cannot keep up offensively.
NHL Live Betting Odds Picks: Washington Capitals
NHL Live Betting Odds Score Prediction: Caps 4, Bruins 1
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