Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Preview
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
When: Saturday, March 18, 2017, 7:00 PM ET
Line: Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning – view all NHL lines
Betting on the Washington Capitals (46-17-7)
Now’s not the best time for the Washington Capitals to be lolly-gagging around. The 2-1 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday marks the team’s fifth loss in six games as it now has a mere two-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division’s standings.
As it stands, the Caps still have the third-highest scoring offense in the NHL (3.2 goals per game). However, they’ve scored just two or fewer goals in each of their last five losses. Superstars Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie have both found the back of the net within their team’s disappointing stretch, but they’re not getting much help from the rest of the supporting staff.
Even standout goalie Braden Holtby seems to have taken a back set of late. Holtby has a 1-4 record over his last five starts, having allowed four goals apiece in three of those defeats.
Nevertheless, a lot of the team’s shortcomings may have mainly come from sheer complacency given how it has dominated the league for the majority of the season. Perhaps the return of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from his brief two-game suspension will invigorate Washington’s offensive and defensive fronts alike this Saturday against a desperate Lightning team.
Betting on the Tampa Bay Lightning (34-27-9)
Also on the losing end of Thursday’s slate were the Tampa Bay Lightning, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end with a humbling 5-0 shutout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. With that defeat, Toronto has leapfrogged Tampa Bay by a full point for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
It was an uncharacteristic offensive outing for the Lightning, who racked up 12 goals during their prior four-game run. They failed to convert all five of their power-play opportunities against Toronto, yet they may have simply underestimated an equally-hungry Leafs team also in the mix for a postseason berth as they’re still ranked fourth in the league with a solid 22.5-percent power-play conversion rate.
Luckily, a timely comeback from team captain Steven Stamkos may be on its way this weekend. Stamkos, who’s been out of action since mid-November with a knee injury, will certainly provide a huge boost to Tampa Bay’s playoff chances. He’s also a proven point-producer that could make or break Saturday’s game against high-scoring Washington.
But in the end, the Lightning shouldn’t take the Caps’ recent woes for granted, as they’ve lost five of their last six meetings against Washington, with two of those losses at having been dealt on their own home ice.
The Lightning stay close in the playoff hunt with a critical 3-2 win in overtime.
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