Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Game Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

The Washington Capitals look to even the series up at Nationwide Arena in Game 4 of the postseason’s first round. The opening face-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 19, and fans at home are able to see it live on USA, RSN, TVA2 and FSOH.

Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Odds

Washington (-105) is playing the role of underdog to Columbus (-115), and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals (-120 to bet the over, +100 for the under). After originally opening at -125 over and +105 under, those O/U odds have shifted.

Washington is 50-35 straight up (SU) and has earned moneyline bettors 8.8 units this year. 48 of its outings have gone over the total, while 35 have gone under and just two have pushed. This 2017-18 Capitals team is 22-20 SU on the road.

Following a regular season where they converted 23.4 percent of all power-play opportunities (the seventh-strongest), the Capitals have been able to score on 35.3 percent of their postseason power plays.

The Capitals’ offensive attack attempted 29.6 shots per game in the regular season, resulting in 3.2 goals per contest (ranked ninth overall in the NHL). In the playoffs, the team’s up to an average of 44.3 shots on goal (yet up to 3.3 goals per game).

With a .908 save percentage and 27.4 saves per game, Braden Holtby (35-21-5) has been the primary option in goal for Washington this season. If head coach Barry Trotz decides to rest him, however, Washington may roll with Philipp Grubauer (15-22-5), who has a .919 save percentage and 2.47 goals against average this year.

The visiting Capitals have relied on Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov heavily this year. Ovechkin has 91 points on 51 goals and 40 assists, and has recorded two or more points 25 times. Kuznetsov has 29 goals and 56 assists to his nameand has registered at least one point in 51 games.

Columbus is 47-38 straight up (SU) and has netted moneyline bettors 1.8 units this season. 43 of its games have gone over the total, while 41 have gone under and just one has pushed. It’s 26-16 SU at home this year.

The Blue Jackets have converted on just 17.8 percent of their power play chances this season, a figure that’s ranked 25th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 27th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 75.2 percent of all opponent power plays.

Columbus players have been called for penalties only 3.1 times per game in total this season, and 5.4 per game over their last five outings. The team has had to stave off opponent power plays a whopping 14.6 minutes per game over their last five outings.

Sergei Bobrovsky (28.8 saves per game) has been the top selection in goal for the Blue Jackets. Bobrovsky has 39 wins, 29 losses, and seven overtime losses to his credit and has registered a 2.44 goals against average and a .921 save percentage this season.

Artemi Panarin (29 goals, 60 assists) will pace the offensive counter for the Jackets.

Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Betting Picks

NHL Prediction: SU Winner – Blue Jackets, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • The over has hit in four of Columbus’ last five games.
  • The Blue Jackets have averaged the league’s fifth-most shots on goal (33.6) while the Capitals have attempted just the 31st-most (33.6).
  • Five of Washington’s last ten games have been decided by two goals or more. The team is 4-1 in those games.