The Lightning skate into Washington having dropped their last pair while the Caps have done the same over their last two games.
Let’s analyze this Eastern Conference matchup and determine which of these two teams will snap their modest losing streak as we keep cashing our NHL picks!
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals
Wednesday, April 06, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at Capital One Arena
The Lightning is known for their offensive firepower but they were no match for Toronto’s one-man-wrecking crew, Auston Matthews, on Monday night.
The NHL’s leading goal scorer dropped a hat trick on the Bolts and led the Maple Leafs to a 6-2 victory over their Atlantic Division rivals.
Nikita Kucherov knotted the score at one apiece in the opening stanza before Jan Rutta picked up his third goal of the season and tied the game at two, early in the second period.
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But that was all the scoring the Lightning could muster as the Leafs took over from there and scored the next four goals.
Despite Tampa’s 35-26 advantage in faceoff wins, the Leafs outshot the Lightning, 39-34, but Toronto goalie, Jack Campbell, copped the No. 3 star with 32 saves and outshone the normally stellar Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The loss dropped the Lightning into a third-place tie with the Bruins in the Atlantic Division. The veteran defenseman, Ryan McDonagh, missed his sixth consecutive game with an upper-body injury.
Caps Can’t Tame Wild
The Capitals were coming off of a 6-1 loss to the Hurricanes when they welcomed the Wild to the Capital One Arena on Sunday night.
Minnesota scored two goals in under two minutes of the opening faceoff and held a 4-0 lead in the third period before Garnet Hathaway broke the Caps’ scoring drought midway through the final frame.
Hathaway’s tally snapped a streak of eight unanswered goals dating back to the loss to Carolina. “It's hard to paint it with one brush,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said.
“It wasn't good enough again. Obviously, the start. It might've been the only two chances we gave up, but they were mistakes, they were early on, and it's not the way you want to start the game.”
Winger Johan Larsson, acquired by the Capitals from Arizona at the trade deadline in return for a 2023 third-round pick, suited up for the first time since he was dealt, recuperating from sports hernia surgery.
The 29-year-old Swede had no points in 10:48 of ice time but was +1 on the evening.
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Tampa Bay has won both meetings with Washington this season with the first being a 2-1 overtime victory in October, followed by a 3-2 win two weeks later.
But since November 1st, these two Eastern Conference rivals have avoided each other until now.
Although the Capitals, barring a total collapse, are likely to get into the postseason via a wild card berth, they have not only gotten soundly trounced over the last two games but even their two previous wins were far from easy.
They were not only outscored 11-2 in their last two losses but barely edged the lowly Sabres, 4-3 in a shootout, followed by a 4-3 win in regulation against the cellar-dwelling Devils. Wins yes, impressive, no.
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And speaking of one-goal victories, six of the Capitals' last seven wins has been by just one goal with four of them coming by way of overtime or a shootout.
That’s an awful lot of extra ice time that has come as the season winds into its final 12 games of the season. Washington looks like a team that is simply worn out and the results attest to that.
While both teams can put the puck in the net, Washington’s offense has been stuck in neutral lately and it likely won’t even get into first gear with Tampa Bay’s superstar goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy, licking his chops to atone for his rare poor performance on Monday night.
Both meetings this season have gone under and this one will be no different. Bet the Bolts and go low on Wednesday night!
NHL Pick: Under 6 (-104) with BetOnline
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