It’s an interconference matchup on the ice in the Valley of the Sun. The Washington Capitals are on the road as they travel to face the Arizona Coyotes Thursday night. Washington lost their second straight game as they fell 5-3 to Vegas on the road Tuesday night. Arizona comes in off a 2-1 win over Los Angeles on the road Thursday night. The teams have split the 10 previous meetings with the Coyotes taking a 4-1 home win in the last matchup on November 18.
Washington Capitals Try to Get Back in Win Column
Washington dropped their second straight after a seven-game win streak as they dropped the opening game of this road trip. The Capitals entered Wednesday night with a one-point edge over Columbus for the Metropolitan Division lead and four ahead of the Rangers for a guaranteed playoff spot. Washington is 4th in the league with an average of 3.59 goals per game. The Capitals are below average so far this season in their own end, ranking 22nd in the league by allowing 3.22 goals a night. Washington is 7th in the league on the power play as they convert 26.4 percent of their chances. The Capitals are 23rd in the league in penalty killing as they kill off 76.2 percent of their shorthanded situations. Washington is 14-13 against the puck line this season while the over is 15-10-2 in those games.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 5, 2018
The Capitals were unable to shut down the Golden Knights in the opener of their road trip. In a karmic balancing, headhunter Tom Wilson was knocked out of the game on a hit by Vegas’s Ryan Reaves. Washington outshot Vegas 9-7 in the opening period but the teams skated off after 20 minutes tied at one. After falling behind 1-0 early, Jakub Vrana knotted the score at 15:33 of the period with his seventh of the year. Brett Connolly drew the lone assist on the marker. In the second period, Washington outshot Vegas 10-9 and scored the lone goal of the period to take a 2-1 lead. Alex Ovechkin potted his 20th of the year at 11:42 with Connolly and Madison Bowey drawing the assists. The third period saw the Capitals outshot 11-8 in the stanza but what made it worse was them being outscored 4-1. After falling behind 3-2, Washington tied the game at three on Vrana’s second goal of the night and eighth of the season at 11:40 of the period. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen drew the assists on the goal. The Capitals gave up the tiebreaking goal with 1:25 to go and then allowed an empty net goal in the closing seconds. Braden Holtby made 23 saves for Washington, who was outshot 28-26 in the game.
Arizona Coyotes Seek Fifth Straight Victory
Arizona rolled up a fourth straight victory as they took down Los Angeles on the road Tuesday night in their last game. The Coyotes look to ring up a fifth straight victory as they return home for this contest. The team comes into this one fifth in the Pacific Division, eight points back of the division-leading Flames and three back of the Sharks for the final guaranteed playoff spot. Arizona is 28th in the league as they’ve average 2.58 goals per game so far while the team is an impressive 4th in scoring defense by allowing 2.58 goals per game. The Coyotes come into this one tied for 24th on the power play as they have cashed in on 15.9 percent of their chances with the man advantage. Arizona is 1st on the penalty kill as they have successfully killed off 90 percent of their shorthanded situations on the season. The Coyotes are 17-9 against the puck line this season and the under has gone 15-11 in those contests.
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 5, 2018
The Coyotes played tough, physical hockey in their own zone and it paid off with a victory on the road. Arizona was outshot 8-7 in the first period but skated off with a 1-0 edge after 20 minutes. Lawson Crouse scored a shorthanded goal, his fifth of the year, at the 18:25 mark of the period to open the scoring. Josh Archibald and Niklas Hjalmarsson drew the assists on the goal. The second period saw the Coyotes outshot by the same 8-7 margin but they doubled their lead to take a 2-0 edge after 40 minutes. Nick Schmaltz scored the goal with a power play marker at 5:56 of the period with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Clayton Keller drawing the assists. In the third period, the Coyotes were outshot 10-6 in the period and gave up a goal yet secured the victory. Adin Hill made 25 saves in the win for Arizona, who was outshot 26-20 in the game but came up with two points.
- Capitals are 0-4 in their last 4 Thursday games
- Coyotes are 4-0 in their last 4 overall
- Coyotes are 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Arizona has four straight wins on the books right now and Hill gets another start as Antti Raanta gets back into shape with a lower body injury. The Coyotes will miss Michael Grabner, who suffered an eye injury and is out indefinitely. Washington has lost two straight games coming into this one as their goaltending has been leaky. The Capitals are going to struggle in this contest, especially with the Coyotes leading the league in penalty killing. Arizona has 11 shorthanded goals on the season, which leads the league as well. Look for Arizona to get the win here.
Prediction: Arizona Coyotes -110
Full-Game Total Pick
Washington had been rolling with seven wins in a row before losing to the Ducks and the Golden Knights. Poor goaltending has proven to be the issue as they allowed 11 goals in those two contests. The Capitals are going to have to tighten up defensively in order to have success long term. Arizona has been playing well of late with four straight wins coming into this one. The Coyotes already beat the Capitals this season, winning on the road last month. Can Arizona sweep the season series with a victory here?
The under is 4-0 in the Coyotes’ last 4 when their opponent allows 5 goals or more in their previous game and 5-1 in their last six games on Thursday. The teams have stayed under the total in seven of their last eight meetings and five of their last seven meetings in Arizona. With the Coyotes’ defense shutting the door on teams, you have to lean toward this one staying under the total.
Prediction: Under 6
Full-Game Prop Bet
Arizona doesn’t score a ton but they don’t give up much either. On the other side of the coin, the Capitals score a ton but they give up a ton of goals and good scoring chances. Washington has given up 11 goals in their last two games. The Capitals can’t rest when they get a man advantage either as the Coyotes have killed off a league-best 90 percent of their shorthanded situations and have potted 11 shorthanded goals. It’s hard to go against a team laden with talent like the Capitals but the Coyotes should get the first goal thanks to their tough defense.
Prediction: Arizona Coyotes to Score First (-110)
Half-Time Side Pick
Both teams have been pretty solid in the opening period of games this season. Washington has scored 28 goals while allowing 26 and they have a +8 shot differential in the opening stanza this year. Arizona has scored 22 goals while allowing 20 and they hold a +15 shot advantage in the first 20 minutes of games. The Coyotes have been extremely tough on the defensive end of the ice this season, which is what keeps them in games. Look for Arizona to do just enough to skate off the ice with the edge after 20 minutes of action.
Prediction: 1st Period: Arizona Coyotes -110
Half-Time Total Bet
Washington has been leaky on the defensive end of the ice, which is something that is going to have to be adjusted down the line if they want to defend their Stanley Cup title. Arizona has struggled to put the puck in the net this season but they’ve been good stifling the opposition in that department. The Coyotes are going to try and make things difficult for the Capitals and their ability to make plays in shorthanded situations is dangerous for Washington. With both teams missing key contributors with Washington minus T.J. Oshie and Brooks Orpik while Arizona is missing Grabner, you have to think this one is under the number after 20 minutes.
Prediction: 1st Period: Under 1.5 (-110)
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Arizona is one of the league’s stingiest teams when it comes to giving up goals. While they’ve allowed 20 goals in the opening period, they’ve been very good of late even with Raanta sidelined. The Capitals are minus one of their prime weapons in Oshie and, after getting lit up in their last two games, may be more focused on protecting their own zone early rather than being aggressive. That plays into Arizona’s hands and should leave this one scoreless midway through the first.
Prediction: No to Will Either Team Score in the First 10 Minutes of the Game (-110)