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Posted at 4:00 PM EST.
10:05 PM EST. Regulation only. If you watched the Capitals defeat the Maple Leafs at the U.S. Naval Academy on Saturday, you could not help but be impressed. That was a featured game in both the United States and Canada so a ton of hockey fans and media watched it. That impressive win will now influence the public and media even more into believing the Capitals are legit when they are not. We seriously cannot wait to fade these imposters in the playoffs and fade them we will. We’ll reiterate to wipe that freak show on Saturday night out of your mind because it was one game in an unusual setting that the Maple Leafs were caught uncomfortable in and Frederick Anderson was shaky in.
The truth about the Capitals is that they are a defensive mess and their offense is heavily reliant on a small number of players. You could break down any portion of the season and come up with the same results or damn close to it but we like to break the season up into five week sections, as it gives us a good idea of current form. Five weeks usually equals 12-16 games. Since January 23, a span of five weeks, the Caps rank 24th in Corsi Against/60, 29th in xGA/60, ahead of only Edmonton and New York (Rangers), 20th in xGF/60 and 20th in High Danger Chances Against. All of Washington’s metrics put them in the same range as all the teams that are going to miss the playoffs. The Caps 32-21-7 record is an absolute mirage. This team has been on the extreme side of good puck luck and they will get exposed, either over the final weeks of the regular season or the playoffs or both. Washington also ranks dead last in penalties taken over the past five weeks.
John Gibson is an elite goaltender while Braden Holtby is fighting it lately so give the Ducks an edge in goal. That’s not a bad place to start but there is so much more. The Ducks have won two in a row and six of eight. Over the past five weeks, Anaheim ranks 3rd in Scoring Chances Per 60 during 5v5 play. They rank 8th in Corsi For % over that time while the Caps rank 25th. The Ducks very simply do everything better than Washington and in order to beat the Caps, all a team has to do is stay out of the box because during 5-on-5 play, Washington is among the worst teams in the NHL but the media and market loves results over ingredients. Lastly, Washington has played the 30th strength of schedule (SOS) in the league while Anaheim has played the 10th toughest SOS. Anaheim is superior, they’re at home and they’re better prepped.
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ANAHEIM -½ +124 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.48)