Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins will face each other in their first prep clash in the NHL 2021/22 season. The home side enjoyed their preseason last time, winning six times on seven occasions. However, they want to stay healthy ahead of the new campaign after having a lot of selection issues in the previous season. The visitors had a 4-3 preseason record in 2019/20, and this time, they want to get back as the Atlantic Division force.
These two sides were rivals in the Round 1 of the playoffs last season, and the Bruins won the tie 4:1. They also competed in the East Division in the 2020/21 season, but now, the Bruins get back to a very strong Atlantic Division. Both teams look forward to a good start to the season, and an entertaining match is ahead of us.
Washington Capitals – Can they make a strong return?
The last season was a real roller coaster for the Capitals, as they missed a lot of players due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They needed to face the absences of some key players at times, but Washington coped with that well. Their first-choice goalie Ilya Samsonov had to miss out after just two games into the season, which saw Vitek Vanecek getting his chance. Nevertheless, the Capitals finished joint-first in the East Division along with the Penguins, booking 29 victories and picking up 77 points.
However, their upcoming rivals stopped Alex Ovechkin and the lads on the first step in the playoffs. The home side hopes their players will have better luck this season and stay healthy in the first place. If Washington can count on their best players and Evgeny Kuznetsov becomes a striking force again, we could see a strong comeback. On the other hand, the Capitals still rely very much on Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, and we’ll see if they can produce another great season.
Expected Line-Up: Ilya Samsonov, John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov
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Boston Bruins – Is the time running out for this core?
The Bruins made it to the playoffs last season and went to the second knockout round. New York Islanders won that tie 4-2 and kicked them out from the race for the Stanley Cup. Boston and a solid regular season, finishing third in the East Division with 25 wins and right behind their upcoming opponents.
The Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask won’t be around for a while, and Linus Ullmark should replace him. Ullmark had a couple of good seasons at Buffalo Sabres, but it is not the same level as in Boston. We’ll see how he can perform in the playoffs, as the Bruins are among the candidates for post-season battles. If he can keep his form stable, the Bruins can be among the leading teams upon their return to the Atlantic Division. Another interesting point will be to see how the Bruins will handle David Krejci’s absence, as he left the team after 15 seasons. They need a strong replacement there, and Taylor Hall might step up and deal successfully with Boston’s potential scoring issue.
Expected Line-Up: Linus Ullmark, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, Brad Marchand
Expert Pick #1 – Washington Capitals to Win @+145
We can expect any outome in this clash, especially since it is the first preseason match. However, I believe the Capitals are a bit closer to the victory, and they should start building a positive momentum from here. Therefore, I’m going to back them as the first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 5.5 @-112
Both teams might experiment in this one, which can lead to an efficient match. Their previous clashes usually went Under, but this time, I expect to see more than five goals in total. I’ll take the Over as my second bet on this match.
Expert Pick #3 – Washington Capitals -0.5 @+148
If you want to exclude a draw as the outcome, then you might go with the Puck line market. The odds are pretty good, as you won’t lose any value due to a two-way market. I’ll go with this one as my second alternative pick.