Lightning vs Capitals – NHL Game 6 Pick for May 21st
After going up 2-0 in the series, Washington has lost the last 3 games and are on the verge of elimination from the playoffs. Game 6 is a chance for Washington to tie up the series in front of their home fans. Unfortunately, Washington has a losing record at home in the playoffs at 3 wins and 5 losses. And, there aren’t many other numbers that really support the idea that Washington can win this game. But, does that mean they can’t win?
For starters, only 2 teams in the Conference era have lost a conference final or semi-final series after going up 2-0. Washington appears to be the 3rd as Tampa has two tries to win one game. Another mind numbing stat is that the team who won Game 5 in a best-of-seven series has gone on to win the series 79.6% of the time (215-55).
Tampa Bay has played remarkably well on the road in the playoffs with a 5-1 record and 4 consecutive road wins. Another fascinating stat is that Tampa Bay is undefeated when playing at Washington in the playoffs. In 3 all-time playoff meetings, the Lightning are 7-0 at Washington.
For the series, Washington still leads in goals scored at 16 to 15. However, Tampa has been getting solid play from their goalie Vasilevskiy and all 4 lines. In fact, it was their 4th line that did all of the heavy lifting in Game 5. They scored more in Game 5 than they did in the playoffs up to that point. For Tampa to win Game 6, they will need another excellent game out of Vasilevskiy and balanced scoring from their lines.
For Washington to win Game 6, they will need their big guns like Ovechkin, Backstrom and Kuznetsov to do the heavy lifting offensively this game. Additionally, they will need a big game out of goalie Braden Holtby who has been inconsistent the last 3 games. During this 3-game losing streak, Holtby has given up 10 goals and has a terrible .843 save percentage.
Also during the 3 straight losses, Washington has given Tampa Bay too many one-man advantages as they’ve gone 3-of-8 for power plays. The Capitals have gone 0-7 on power plays and didn’t even have a power play attempt in Game 5. That all needs to change tonight or they’re going to get eliminated.
The Capitals have trailed in the last few games right out of the gate. They’re going to need to come out aggressive early in the contest to set the tone and hopefully build a lead. It’s going to be tough sledding against Vasilevskiy who stopped the last 100 of 106 shots and is 11-4 in the postseason.
With a huge sense of urgency, I feel that Washington is going to bounce back this game and win at home. I do think Tampa will win the series, but Washington has been down before in these playoffs and found a way to survive.
I’m staying away from the Total in this game as it’s pushed 3 times in 5 games. Additionally, the spread is not to be messed with due to the lack of value and Tampa’s success on the road. So, we’re going with the Capitals to win the game and the -119 moneyline. Washington is the more desperate team and they have too much talent to lose a 4th straight game.
Washington is 3-1 when trailing in a playoff series, 2-0 after three or more consecutive losses, 27-13 when avenging a loss, 10-5 SU in their last 15 games, Holtby is 24-12 SU at home and Washington is 25-8 in their last 33 games on Mondays. Tampa is 18-37 SU in their last 55 games at Washington.
In the last 10 head-to-head meetings, Tampa has scored 2.7 gpg and Washington has scored 3.3 gpg. For the playoffs, Tampa has averaged 3.3 gpg and Washington has averaged 3.5 gpg
Bet: Washington Capitals moneyline (-119)
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