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The Washington Capitals face the Minnesota Wild with both teams looking to build off of strong seasons. The Capitals have a 33-30-7 record and are a few points out of wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. The Wild have a 39-22-8 record and with seven wins in their last 10 games, they have the third-best record in the Central Division. Both teams look to improve in the playoff picture and the upcoming game should be a great one as result.
Capitals have been led by great offenseThe Capitals are having a great season with their offense stepping up and scoring 3.09 goals per game with seven goals in their last two games. Alexander Ovechkin, Dylan Strome, and Evgeny Kuznetsov have scored 65 goals and 101 assists to lead the top two lines but the rest of the offense has also stepped up. T.J. Oshie, Conor Sheary, and Sonny Milano have combined for 40 goals and 54 assists while defensemen Nick Jensen and Trevor van Riemsdyk have added nine goals and 38 assists from the point to open up the offense.
The offense has been great but the defense has struggled, allowing 3.01 goals per game including five goals in the last game. Jensen and van Riemsdyk have combined for 7.3 defensive point shares but the rest of the unit has struggled, allowing opponents to find open shots on the net with ease. The bright spot has been the play of goaltender Darcy Kuemper who has a .910 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average on 1398 with 7.3 goals saved above average.
Wild have been led by remarkable defenseThe Wild are having a great season but hope their offense improves, scoring only 2.88 goals per game. Joel Eriksson Ek, Mats Zuccarello, and Matt Boldy have scored 64 goals and 98 assists but the rest of the forward unit has struggled. Only six active skaters have 10 goals or more and opponents can limit the top-heavy offense as a result.
The offense has struggled but the defense has been great, allowing only 2.63 goals per game. Jared Spurgeon and Jacob Middleton have combined for 10.4 defensive point shares and 290 blocked shots while Mathew Dumba, Jonathon Merrill, and trade deadline addition John Klingberg have combined for 6.0 defensive point shares to add depth to the unit. Additionally, goaltender Filip Gustavsson has been great with a .931 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average on 882 shots with 23.1 goals saved above average.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Capitals are looking to pull off the upset but the Wild look like one of the best teams in the Western Conference and look to control this game from the first period. The Wild should find the back of the net at will against the Capitals, who have allowed five goals in the last game, with Matt Boldy, Mats Zuccarello, and the rest of the forward unit carrying the puck into the offensive zone and creating open shots with great puck movement. The Wild also look to bounce back after allowing five goals in their last game and should limit the Capitals' offense with Jared Spurgeon, Jacob Middleton, and the rest of the defensive unit creating turnovers in the defensive zone and limiting shots on the net, allowing goaltender Filip Gustavsson to make plenty of big saves. The Wild should win the game with a strong performance on their home ice.
Take the Wild money line as home Favorites.
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Full-Game Total Pick
The Wild are led by a great defense and both defensive units look to step up and control this game from the first period. The Capitals should limit the Wild offense, which averages only 2.88 goals per game, with Nick Jensen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and the rest of the defensive unit creating turnovers in the defensive zone and limiting shots on the net, allowing goaltender Darcy Kuemper to make plenty of big saves. The Wild, who allow only 2.63 goals per game, should eliminate and potentially shut out the Capitals with Jared Spurgeon, Jacob Middleton, Mathew Dumba, and the rest of the defensive unit forcing turnovers in the neutral zone and defensive zone while goaltender Filip Gustavsson blanks the shots on the net. The Under should cover in a low-scoring game with both defenses stepping up.
Take the Under on 5.5 goals.