Kings vs Capitals – NHL Pick for November 30th
- Los Angeles Kings (+115) at Washington Capitals (-135)
There’s a healthy dose of action on Thursday night in the NHL with 14 teams taking the ice spread across seven games. There’s an awesome matchup out west when two of the youngest stars collide in Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid as the Leafs visit the Oilers and a big battle between the Wild and the Golden Knights but the most exciting game of the night takes place in the nation’s capital between THE Capitals and the Kings.
Washington may have started off the season a little slower than usual but they seem to have rediscovered their form recently and are once again vying for top spot in the Eastern Conference. They currently sit at 14-10-1 with 29 points and a slight lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first Wild Card spot. Their standing in the conference is only going to improve as the season wears on, and may have already started trending in the right direction thanks to their three-game win streak. Washington is coming off three straight wins against Ottawa, Toronto and most recently Tampa Bay. Those are three impressive wins no matter how you slice it and they have the chance to add a fourth to their resume when the Kings visit on Thursday night.
LA is going to be another tough team to beat however and are coming off back to back wins against Detroit and Anaheim. While their competition has been less impressive there’s still no denying what the Kings have been able to accomplish this season. Despite missing their leading scorer from last year in Jeff Carter they’ve still managed to average 2.92 goals a game and are currently tied with Vegas for the top spot in the Pacific Division. LA has had trouble scoring lately, failing to score more than two goals in all but two of their last ten games. That could be a problem against the high-flying offense of Washington.
The Capitals have scored 12 goals over their last three games for an average of four a night. They’re led by the resurgence of Alex Ovechkin who currently leads the league in goals with 18 in just 25 games. He tallied a hat-trick in the win over the Leafs and now has five goals over his last three games. Despite his success, he’s not even the leading point-scorer on the team. That distinction belongs to Evgeny Kuznetsov who has one more points (26) than Ovechkin (25) this season. Add in 22 from T.J. Oshie, 19 from Nicklas Backstrom and 18 from John Carlson and this team can hurt you from anywhere on the ice.
With that said, Washington likes to take risks to achieve their goals and that plays right into the Kings’ trap. Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar are two of the best defenders at their respective positions and love to capitalize on foolish mistakes by their opponents. If they catch the Capitals flat-footed trying to do a little too much on their own end they could quickly flip the script on Washington and jump out to an early lead.
While LA does miss Jeff Carter up front, they’ve managed to pick up the slack where they can. The aforementioned Kopitar is on fire this season, already matching his goal total from all of last year at 12. He’s up to 28 points on the year and is having an incredible bounce-back campaign after a fluky year. Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli have both chipped in with ten goals apiece and as long as the Kings can keep generating offense from some of their lesser-known players they should be able to keep up with the Capitals on Thursday night.
Washington enters the game with an 8-4-0 record at home, while the Kings counter with a 7-5-2 road mark. LA has won seven of the last ten matchups against Washington and are capable of playing their best hockey in any arena in the league. They’re paying +117 on the road and that’s a bet I like taking against a cocky Capitals team.