Washington Capitals (2-0-0-0) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-0-0)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, October 9, 2017
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Lines: Washington +111 / Tampa Bay -123
The in-form Washington Capitals (1st in Metropolitan Division), who have already netted 10 regulation goals during the first two outings of the 2017-18 season, will pay a visit to the Tampa Bay Lightning (4th in Atlantic), who have been quite convincing on their own ice lately…
Ovechkin Makes History Again
Another top-notch performance gave the Washington Capitals (2-0-0) their second win in as many games in 2017-18, as the last year’s President’s Trophy winners routed the visiting Montreal Canadiens 6-1 in their home opener at Capital One Arena on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin, who finished last year with 33 regular-season goals and 69 points, helped himself into the record books, becoming the first player since NHL’s inaugural 1917-18 season to open a campaign with consecutive hat tricks. Ovechkin, who grabbed three markers in the 5-4 shootout win at the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, scored three times in the first period against the Habs, adding another snipe in the second frame.
Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted all four Ovechkin’s goals after helping the Russian to score all three in Ottawa as well. Both currently lead Washington’s scoring chart with seven points each. T.J. Oshie and Nathan Walker scored a goal each, grabbing their first points of the season, while Nicklas Backstrom, who led the Caps with 63 assists last year, collected two helpers. Goalie Braden Holtby made 38 saves, taking his current season total to 2-0-0 with a 2.40 GAA and a .930 save percentage. He is 9-2-2 in previous meetings against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2.65 GAA and a .915 save percentage. After the first two outings of the current campaign, Washington is 3rd in most goals netted per fixture (5.00), 9th in least goals allowed on average (2.50), 11th in power play (20.0%) and joint 1st in penalty kill with a 100% success rate (9-for-9).
Bolts Put On A Show Against Panthers
An explosive back-to-back home-and-home matchup, worthy of a playoff pairing, opened the season for the Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-0), who met up with the Florida Panthers twice in a span of 24 hours. The Bolts grabbed a 5-3 win in the season-opening first game at Amalie Arena on Friday, crucially scoring two consecutive goals in the final frame to break a 2-2 tie while holding firm during a late surge by the visitors. The following fixture at BB&T Center on Saturday didn’t go as smoothly, though, as the Panthers recovered from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to claim a 5-4 victory. Brayden Point collected a total of five points throughout both contests, netting two goals and assisting on further three.
Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov have come out of the back-to-back set with two goals and an assist each, while Steven Stamkos marked his return from a knee injury to play his first two NHL outings since Nov. 15 with three assists. Tyler Johnson got his first point of the season, scoring Tampa Bay’s fourth marker in the second game. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy started both matchups in the net for the Bolts, making a total of 76 stops over both nights. He is 1-1-0 now for the current campaign with a 4.07 GAA and a .905 save percentage and has recorded a 0-3-0 career total against the Washington Capitals with a 4.38 GAA and a .874 save percentage. After the first two contests of the new season, the Lightning are 4th in most goals scored per game (4.50), 6th in most snipes given up on average (4.00), 9th in power play (22.2%) and 11th in penalty kill (87.5%).
- Capitals are 5-1 in their last 6 road games.
- Capitals are 5-2 in their last 7 overall meetings with Lightning in Tampa Bay.
- Lightning are 1-4 in their last 5 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game.
- Lightning are 3-9 in their last 12 vs. Metropolitan.
Tampa Bay has won five of its last six home fixtures. But the odds of +111 for Washington to win are just too good to turn down. The Capitals have been amazing going forward in their opening two contests of the season, with Alex Ovechkin sizzling hot. Take also into account that the 32-year-old Russian sniper has collected 41 goals and 83 points in 63 career games against the Lightning, and the fact that the Caps have claimed victories in five of their last seven road contests in Tampa Bay (5-1-1), and it suddenly becomes even harder to bet against Washington here…