Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals Matchup

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Capital One Arena plays host to an Eastern Conference matchup as the Washington Capitals welcome the visiting Boston Bruins. It’s the third and last time that the two clubs will go at it in the regular season. NBC Sports Network will air the matchup, and the action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 28.

Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals Odds

Earning 4.7 units for moneyline bettors, the Capitals are 22-16 straight up (SU) overall this year. That winning percentage, ranked 2nd in the Metropolitan Division in this young season, is a regression from the 55-27 record that the team managed during the 2016-17 season campaign. Among the teams 38 games this season, 20 have gone over the total, while 17 have gone under and none have pushed. The team is 14-5 SU at home this season.

Washington has converted on 18.8 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is rated 22nd overall, and it’s successfully killed off 79.4 percent of all penalties.

As a collective unit, Washington has been whistled for penalties 4.3 times per game overall this season, and 3.0 per game over its last five games. The team has been forced to kill penalties for just 8.9 minutes per game over its last 10 matchups, overall.

Averaging 28.3 saves per game with a .918 save percentage, Braden Holtby (20-8) has been the primary option in goal for the Capitals this year. If they choose to give him the night off, however, the team might go with Philipp Grubauer (2-11-11 record, .909 save percentage, 2.70 goals against average).

The Caps will continue seeking leadership from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin. Kuznetsov (38 points) has tallied 12 goals and 26 assists and has recorded two or more points 10 times this year. Ovechkin has 23 goals and 14 assists to his credit and has recorded at least one point in 21 contests.

On the other bench, Boston is 20-15 straight up (SU) and has lost 0.1 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 35 regular season outings, 19 of its games have gone under the total, while 15 have gone over and none have pushed. As an away team, Boston is 7-7 SU so far.

Boston has converted on 20.2 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a figure that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked fourth overall and it’s successfully killed off 84.3 percent of all penalties.

Boston’s skaters have been called for penalties 4.1 times per game this season, 3.8 per game over their last five games total, and 3.8 per game over their last five games as the visiting team. The teams had to kill penalties 8.8 minutes per contest over their last five road games.

Tuukka Rask (.920 save percentage and 2.23 goals against average) has been the primary option in goal for Boston. Rask is averaging 25.0 saves per game and has 12 wins, 12 losses, and three overtime losses to his credit.

Leading the offensive attack for the visiting Bruins will be David Pastrnak (15 goals, 18 assists) and Brad Marchand (15 goals, 17 assists).

Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals Free Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Capitals, O/U – Over

Betting Trends

  • The total has gone under in three of Washington’s last five outings.
  • Extra-man opportunities could be critical in the outcome of this matchup. The Bruins are 7-9 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 10-8 when they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Capitals are 8-2 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 12-7 in games where their penalty minutes are in the single digits.
  • Washington is 2-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Boston is 2-1 in shootouts.
  • Washington skaters have averaged 10.2 takeaways per game over its last five home games, an improvement over its season average of 7.0 takeaways per game (ranked 17th in the league).
  • Boston has allowed 2.6 goals per game overall this year, but has gotten that figure down 1.0 per match up over their five-game winning streak.
  • Boston skaters have averaged 6.0 takeaways per game over its last five road games, a drop-off from its season average of 10.1 takeaways per game (ranked fifth in the NHL).