The Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets square off at Capital One Arena in Game 1 of the postseason’s first round. The match will get underway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 12, and fans at home can witness the game live on USA, R360, TVA3 and NSWA.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals Odds
Washington (-145) is currently favored over Columbus (+125). The Over/Under (O/U), set at 6 goals, initially opened at -110 for the over and -110 for the under. Those odds have shifted since they opened, and they now sit at -120 for the under, +100 for the over.
Washington is 49-33 straight up (SU) and has earned 10.9 units for moneyline bettors this season. That winning percentage, the best 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. Through 82 regular season contests, 46 of its games have gone over the total, while 34 have gone under and just two have pushed. The team is 28-13 SU at home this year.
The Capitals have connected on 22.5 percent of their power play chances this year, a mark that places them in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, their penalty kill is ranked 16th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 80.3 percent of all penalties.
As a team, the Capitals have been penalized 4.0 times per game overall this season, and 3.2 per game over their last five at home. The team’s had to kill penalties for just 7.8 minutes per game over their last 10 matchups, overall.
Averaging 27.7 saves per game with a .907 save percentage, Braden Holtby (34-20-4) has been the best option in goal for Washington this season. If Washington chooses to give him the night off, however, the team might go with Philipp Grubauer (15-20-20 record, .923 save percentage, 2.35 goals against average).
The Caps will continue relying on leadership via Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Ovechkin (87 points) has put up 49 goals and 38 assists and has recorded multiple points on 23 different occasions this year. Kuznetsov has 27 goals and 56 assists to his name and has recorded at least one point in 49 games.
Columbus is 45-37 straight up (SU) and has earned 0.1 units for moneyline bettors this season. A total of 41 of its matches have gone over the total, while 40 have gone under and just one has pushed. As the road team, the Blue Jackets are 19-22 SU.
The Blue Jackets have converted on just 17.0 percent of their power play chances this season, a figure that places them in the bottom-10 overall among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 28th overall and it’s successfully killed off 76.1 percent of all opponent power plays.
Columbus’ players have been penalized only 3.0 times per game in total this season, 3.2 per game over their last five contests total, and 3.4 per game over their last five games as the visiting team. The team has been forced to stave off opponent power plays just 7.8 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.
Sergei Bobrovsky (28.2 saves per game) has been the primary option in goal for Columbus. Bobrovsky has 37 wins, 28 losses, and six OT losses to his credit, and has registered a .921 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average this year.
For the visiting Blue Jackets, the offense will run through Artemi Panarin, who has 55 assists and 27 goals this season.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals Free Picks
Pick: SU Winner – Blue Jackets, O/U – Under
- Six of Washington’s last ten contests have been decided by two or more goals, and the team is 5-1 overall in those games.
- Power plays and penalty kills may play a critical role tonight. The Blue Jackets are 20-17 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 39-29 when they’re in the penalty box for fewer than 10 total minutes. The Capitals are 16-10 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 28-17 when total penalty minutes are in the single digits.
- Columbus is 6-4 in games decided by a shootout this season while Washington is 3-1 in shootouts.
- The total has gone over in three of Washington’s last five outings.
- Washington is ranked 25th this season with 10.7 giveaways per game. That figure has trended lower lately, however, as it’s averaged 9.5 giveaways over its last 10 games and 9.0 giveaways over its last five.
- Columbus skaters have averaged 9.2 giveaways over its last five home games, a rise over its season average of 6.3 giveaways per game (ranked fifth in the league).