Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#19 Boston Bruins vs.
#20 Washington Capitals
Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Capital One Arena, Washington
Written by Valdis Pans

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After ending a two-game winning run with a 1-0 shutout defeat at the Islanders, the Washington Capitals (1st in East Division) will try to get back on track while returning home to host the Boston Bruins (4th in the East), who haven’t won consecutive contests since mid-March.

Bruins Expand Point Run

The Boston Bruins (20-10-6) extended their current point streak to three outings (2-0-1) after following up Monday’s 3-2 overtime home defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers with a 4-2 victory against the same team at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. Patrice Bergeron (15 goals, 33 points this year) banked his sixth career hat trick, giving the B’s a 2-0 lead in the first period with a double before adding an empty-netter 23 seconds from time. Brad Marchand (18 goals, 45 points), meanwhile, assisted on all of Bergeron’s goals, while also scoring the winner, breaking a 2-2 tie midway through the final third with a shorty. The Bruins are 6-2-2 in their last 10 contests.

Goalie Jeremy Swayman (1-0-0 on the season with a 2.00 GAA and a .952 save percentage) marked his NHL debut with a 40-save performance on Tuesday. With Tuukka Rask still recovering from an upper-body injury and Jaroslav Halak placed on COVID-19 protocol list, Dan Vladar (2-1-1 on the year with a 2.25 GAA and a .922 save percentage), though, is the likeliest starter in Washington, despite having never faced the Capitals before. The Bruins are 15th in least goals scored per game in 2020-21 (2.75), 6th in least goals conceded on average (2.47), 7th in power play (24.1%) and top of the league in penalty kill (88.7%).

Caps End Winning Run

The Washington Capitals (25-10-4) snapped a two-game winning run after being blanked with a count of 1-0 by the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday. The Caps killed both of their penalties, but were outshot 39-29 and failed to convert on both of their opportunities with the man-advantage, eventually being shut out for the very first time this season, with the Isles banking the only snipe of the game at 13:05 of the third period. It was the first time Washington lost this season after allowing two or less goals (14-1-0). The team is 2-3-0 in its last five contests after dropping just one of 11 decisions prior (10-1-0).

Goalie Vitek Vanecek stopped 38 shots on Tuesday to take his current performance status to 15-7-3 for the season with a 2.64 GAA and a .911 save percentage. He has picked up a 2-2-0 previous tally versus Boston with a 3.28 GAA and a .893 save percentage, while Ilya Samsonov (9-2-1 this year with a 2.87 GAA and a .896 save percentage) has allowed two goals on 11 shots in previous two bit-part appearances against the Bruins, posting a 1.94 GAA and a .818 save percentage. The Capitals are 3rd in most goals scored per game this season (3.33), 13th in most goals given up on average (2.97), 8th in power play (24.0%) and 7th in penalty kill (82.9%).

Best Bets for this Game

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Both teams have split their previous four contests against each other this season, exchanging a home and a road victory each. But do go with Washington in Thursday’s upcoming fixture! The Caps have lost three of their past five outings, but have done so on the road. In D.C., though, the Capitals have been a force to reckon with, winning on seven of the past eight occasions. They have also beaten the Bruins in 20 of their most recent 28 meetings in the nation’s capital and are an excellent 4-1 in their last five outings against sides with a winning record. Boston, on the other hand, has struggled to put consecutive wins together, managing to follow up a triumph with another victory on just one of the previous 10 occasions, currently going 0-4 in the very last four matchups following a positive result.

Prediction: Washington Capitals (-115)

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Four of the previous five contests between the Capitals and the Bruins have already cruised past the set goal-mark, recording an average of 7.75 snipes per fixture. So, another outing filled with plenty of scoring between the two sides is definitely not out of the question here! Three of the last five overall contests of Boston have all gone past the five-goal barrier, averaging no less than 8.67 tallies per matchup, while 41 of the previous 60 domestic contests of Washington have all been high-scoring outings, with four of their last six games overall recording an average of 9.25 (!!!) strikes per encounter.

Prediction: Over 5.5
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Written By Valdis Pans , "Valdis Pans"

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