Categories: NHL

Capitals vs Lighting – NHL Game Pick for May 19th

This has truly been an exciting, yet bizarre series. When the Eastern Conference Finals started, Tampa was the favorite to win the series. But, Washington ended up taking the first two games in Tampa Bay by a combined score of 10-4. Then Tampa, who was +275 to win the series after falling down 0-2, went to Washington and won both games. Now, that the series is even, Tampa is back to being the favorite to win the Eastern Conference Finals at -165. The Capitals are +145.

Despite losing all of the momentum and home ice advantage, you can’t count out the Capitals in Game 5 on the road. Washington has been this year’s postseason road warriors with an incredible record of 7-1. As mentioned, they scored 10 goals at Tampa and held the Lightning to just 4 goals. Oddly, Washington returned home and only mustered up 4 goals.

Credit Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for his performances in Washington, especially Game 4. Andrei stopped 36 of 38 shots. He faced 29 shots in the first two periods and kept Tampa Bay in the game heading into period 3. That’s when they scored two more times to secure the victory.

With one goalie’s success, comes another goalie’s failure. Braden Holtby allowed 3 goals on 19 shots for a .842 save percentage in Game 4. Tampa’s 4th goal came on an empty netter. Holtby also allowed a power play goal as Tampa went 1 of 2 on power plays. It’s the 9th straight game that Tampa has scored a power play goal and they’ve tallied 11 total PP goals over that span.

For the Capitals to win Game 5, they need Holtby to step up like he did in the first two games when he stopped 52 of 56 shots for a .928 save percentage. Additionally, Washington will need to get their power play unit back on track as they’ve gone 0-7 in the last two games.

I believe that Washington will regroup and play better in Game 5. With Nicklas Backstrom finally back, Washington is a more dangerous team. They just didn’t convert on their scoring opportunities the last two games. I don’t expect that to continue on Saturday.

Tampa is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games against Washington and 7-15 SU against the Caps. At home, Tampa is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against Washington and 2-5 SU in their last 7 against the Capitals.

The Capitals are 10-4 SU in their last 14 games, 11-1 ATS in their last 12 road games, and 12-1 SU in their last 13 road games. Washington is 20-12 ATS on the road with Holtby in net.

In their last 10 head-to-head meetings, Washington has outscored Tampa Bay 3.2 gpg to 2.6 gpg and have outshot them 34.3 shots per game to 26.9 spg. For the playoffs, Washington has scored 3.6 gpg and Tampa has scored 3.4 gpg. In this playoff series, Washington has scored 3.5 gpg and Tampa has scored 3 gpg.

Typically, I try to stay away from straight bets that have higher odds. However, I don’t mind the -205 odds on Washington getting 1.5 goals. I was very tempted to bet on the Capitals to win outright, but I’m playing it safe by taking the spread. Additionally, after the Total has pushed 3 out of 4 games between these two teams, and I picked the Over in the last two games, I’m going to take a break from the Total and ride the Capitals road game success in these playoffs.

Rick Rockwell

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Rick Rockwell

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