Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning will face each other in the NHL 2021-22 action on Wednesday evening. The home side will search for improvement after two straight defeats and boost the confidence ahead of the playoffs. The visitors also go after a couple of losses but still have the chance to improve their position in the standings.
Washington heads to its fourth straight home game and will try to bounce back. The hosts will unlikely improve their position on the table, but they want to raise the level of their form. On the other hand, Tampa Bay fights for the 2nd spot in its division, but they need to do better than in the last two games.
Washington Capitals – Will they bounce back at home?
The Capitals continue their run of games on the home ice and will look for improvement after losing twice in a row. Moreover, they have struggled in the final third lately while being leaky in the back. Washington managed to score only one goal per match on the previous two occasions, which cost them two heavy defeats. The latest one came against the Wild, who celebrated 5-1 despite having only 19 shots. Nevertheless, the Caps are still in the playoffs zone, sitting in 4th place in the Metropolitan Division with a 37-22-10 record and being 11 points ahead of the New York Islanders.
Alex Ovechkin has been the most productive player for the Caps with 79 points, topping the scoring charts with 42 goals. Evgeny Kuznetsov is the best assistant on the team with 44 while contributing with a total of 66 pts. John Carlson has 55 points, while Tom Wilson is the only one to cross the 40-point mark. On the other hand, Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov split their time between the pipes, making 36 appearances each. They combined for a .905 save percentage, allowing 2.90 goals per contest.
Expected Line-Up: Ilya Samsonov, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov
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Tampa Bay Lightning – Can they improve their defending?
The Lightning goes to Washington after four games in front of their fans. However, in the previous two, they were not very successful. Before entering this losing streak, Tampa Bay managed to book four consecutive wins, which helped them stay in the race for the 2nd position in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning is at a 43-19-7 record but only two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. They need to do better than the last time against the Maple Leafs when they suffered a 6-2 defeat.
Steven Stamkos leads the Lightning’s offense with a total of 78 points, being the team’s top scorer with 32 goals. Victor Hedman has contributed with 66 pts and tops the assists charts with 47. Brayden Point and Alex Killorn managed to cross the 50-point mark, Nikita Kucherov has 44, while five other skaters chipped in with 30+ pts. On the goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy has been Tampa Bay’s first choice, making 54 appearances. He is at a .917 save percentage, allowing 2.44 goals per game.
Expected Line-Up: Jack Campbell, Morgan Rielly, T.J. Brodie, William Nylander, John Tavares, Michael Bunting
Expert Pick #1 – Lightning to Win (Inc. OT and Pen) @-135
Although both teams head to this match after losing twice in a row, I’ll back the visitors here. Washington has had more problems in both directions, and Lightning could capitalize on those. Therefore, I’ll take Tampa Bay as my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 6 @-125
The Caps have been involved in many efficient matches lately since 11 of their last 13 went over the margin. Also, the Over cashed four times in Tampa Bay’s previous five games, and I expect these two sides to produce more than six goals in this one. Give me the Over as the second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Lightning Over 3.5 @+110
Washington conceded 11 goals in their last two home games, while the Lightning has been pretty decent in the final third recently. I believe the visitors could score at least four goals in this one, and I’ll take this pick as an alternative at the plus money odds.