Capitals vs. Blues NHL Odds, Preview and Prediction

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Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues. David Berding/Getty Images/AFP

The St. Louis Blues likely will be missing their best player Friday night when they host the Washington Capitals. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks

Washington Capitals vs. St. Louis Blues 

Friday, January 07, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Enterprise Center 

Friday is always a slow day around the NHL because nearly every team plays on Saturday. Just two games on the first Friday of the New Year and the Capitals-Blues game is nationally televised by the NHL Network. 

It’s the first meeting of the season between the teams in opposite conferences – they could meet in the Stanley Cup Finals. Washington is +700 at BMR’s top-rated books to win the Eastern Conference and St. Louis is +1100 to win the West. You may remember each franchise won its first-ever Stanley Cup in back-to-back years with the Caps doing so in 2018 and the Blues in 2019. 

Because of the unusual pandemic setup last season, these teams didn’t play. In 2019-20, they did only once (one canceled) and the Caps won 3-2 in overtime in St. Louis. The underdog was 4-0 on the NHL picks in the past four.  

Capitals on Bit of a Break 

Washington was supposed to play on Tuesday in Montreal but that was postponed for COVID-19 reasons so the Caps last took the ice on Sunday and were upset 4-3 in OT at home by New Jersey. John Carlson (eighth of season), Conor Sheary (eighth), and Nic Dowd (fifth) had the Washington goals. The team was down 3-1 midway through the third period but lost on Nico Hischier’s goal at 2:56 of overtime. 

The Caps played without top forwards Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie because of non-COVID-19 illness and defenseman Dmitry Orlov due to an upper-body injury. Orlov did practice on Thursday so he should play on Friday. Oshie and Backstrom did, too, but they are both in question for Friday. They would be big losses but both have missed large chunks of the season already due to illness/injury. 

Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 24 goals (second in NHL) and 50 points (third). No team with Ovechkin should struggle on the power play, but Washington is near the bottom of the league in converting just 15 percent of the time with the man advantage. Ovechkin has scored more power-play goals than any player in history and has six this year. 

Should be Ilya Samsonov in the net. He’s 13-2-3 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .908 save percentage after taking the loss vs. New Jersey. On the road, he’s 6-1-1 with a 2.85 GAA and .914 SV. 

Washington is 4-1 on the NHL odds in its past five as an underdog. 

Blues’ Leading Scorer in Protocols 

St. Louis should have ended the Penguins’ eight-game winning streak on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, but the Blues blew second-period leads of 2-0 and 3-1 and lost 5-3. All three of their goals came in the second period, courtesy of Brayden Schenn (fifth of season), Jordan Kyrou (13th), and Colton Parayko (fourth). 

"We didn't pressure very well, I didn't think," St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. "Our forecheck wasn't very good. That's where it starts for me." 

Schenn hadn’t played since December 12th due to injury and it was his 200th career goal. Kyrou is the second on the team with 33 points and has at least one point in three straight games. Jordan Binnington fell to 10-7-3 with a 3.00 GAA and .908 SV with the loss – rather disappointing numbers. He should be in there Friday, though, and is 5-3-1 with a 2.88 GAA and .907 SV at home. 

There is good and mostly bad COVID-19 news. The good is that defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was practicing Thursday after leaving protocols. He hasn’t played since December 19th. The bad news is that leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (34 points) and blueliners Jake Walman and Scott Perunovich landed in protocols. 

While Washington stinks on the power play, St. Louis is tied for first at 30.2 percent. On the penalty kill, the Blues are ninth at 82.6 percent. 

The loss of Tarasenko is crushing for the Blues, and I think Oshie and Backstrom play for the Caps, so they are the NHL pick. The Blues are just 2-5 in their past seven Friday games. 

NHL Pick: Capitals ML (-105) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Capitals ML (-105)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.