A potential first round playoff preview takes place on Saturday afternoon on NBC, as the Washington Capitals visit the Boston Bruins. The Capitals are going to finish with the best record in the league while the Bruins could finish second or third in the Atlantic Division or they might be the second Wild Card. If they finish as the second Wild Card they would play the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs next week. Let’s look at this Saturday matinee.
At 3 p.m. ET, tune into NBC for live television coverage of this NHL game on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at TD Garden.
We'll have NHL odds at BookMaker.eu available for this and every game on the NHL Saturday schedule.
The Capitals have the better record but they may not be favored in this game, as they probably won’t have anything to play for. Washington will probably have wrapped up the top seed, so they will have no real incentive in this game. The Bruins on the other hand, will probably have a lot of incentive, as they want to finish in second or third in the Atlantic and avoid playing the Capitals in the first round.
The Bruins were off on Friday after hosting Ottawa on Thursday, while the Capitals have had two days to get ready for this game after hosting the Rangers on Wednesday. The Capitals close the regular season at home against Florida, while this is the regular season finale for the Bruins.
Washington is 22-18 on the road with 20 games going over, 11 going under the total, with nine pushes. The Bruins were 23-16 in their first 39 home games with 18 games going over the total, 18 going under, with three pushes.
The Capitals are the best team in the NHL for a reason, as they are 2nd in the league in goals per game and 3rd in the league on the power play at 23.5%. The Capitals lead the league in fewest goals allowed at just 2.2 per contest and they are 7th in the league in penalty killing at 84%.
Boston is 7th in the league on the power play at 21.6%. They are 11th in the league in goals per game at 2.9 per contest. They are 2nd in the league in penalty killing at 85.3% and they are 9th in the league in goals allowed at 2.6 per contest.
The Capitals could easily choose to start backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer in this game and give Braden Holtby the day off but it really doesn’t matter, as Holtby is 41-18 with a 2.11 goals against average, while Grubauer is 12-8 with a 2.07 goals against average.
The Bruins may need this game to avoid falling into the second Wild Card spot, so they may decide to go with starter Tuukka Rask who has been excellent this season. He is 37-24 with a 2.27 goals against average and he has 8 shutouts on the season. Backup Anton Khudobin is 7-6 with a 2.56 goals against average.
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This has been an ugly series of late for the Bruins, as they have dropped the last eight games against the Capitals. They lost 4-3 and 5-3 in Washington earlier this season with both games going over. The Capitals have also taken the last three in Boston with the last four going under the total.
If the Capitals don’t need to win this game, which will probably be the situation, I can’t see them playing with a lot of intensity. That probably won’t be the case for Boston, as this is their regular season home finale, and they may need to win this game to avoid facing the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs. I will take the Bruins to win this game at home.
NHL Odds: Bruins 3, Capitals 2
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