Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils – NHL Pick for October 13th
It’s Friday the 13th! But there’s no reason to be scared of throwing down a bit of cash on some NHL games. Fridays are typically quiet in the NHL and with just four games on tap, it’s no different on the 13th. Still, sometimes small slates are a blessing as it allows you to focus in on each game and make some quality decisions.
We’ll give you our picks for the other three games quickly at the end of this segment, but as always we’ll focus our attention on the game of the night so you can have some added insight before placing your bets.
- Washington Capitals (-150) at New Jersey Devils (+130)
Last year this would have been a complete write-off. The New Jersey Devils were one of the worst teams in all of hockey while the Capitals stormed to another President’s Cup as the best team in the NHL. Flip the calendar to this year and these two teams are two of the best in the East and battling for a big two points on Friday night.
The Capitals enter the contest coming off another loss at the hands of the Penguins but they still have a 2-1-1 record and have lost both their games by just one goal each. Now they sit as the third team in the Metropolitan division and while the season is young they still need to try and get a win against the Devils.
As for those Devils, they’re off to a start that no one saw coming. They handed the Leafs their first loss of the seasons in a 6-3 romping and have been flying all across the ice since their skates touched down this October. They sit at 3-0 on the young season and are one of the few remaining teams without a loss on their record. They have youthful talent and fast skaters all over the ice including the number one overall draft pick Nico Hischier who has already contributed this season.
This matchup would normally never warrant our attention, but the beautiful thing about sports is that it changes every year. This season is no different as the Devils sit atop their division and will try to keep the good times rolling against the Capitals in front of their hometown fans. So which team has an edge as they get set to do battle on the spooky Friday the 13th? Let’s find out.
The Devils have outscored their opponents by ten goals through just three games and are coming off a performance that saw them put six against the undefeated Leafs. They’re averaging a ridiculous 5.33 goals per game and while that number is obviously going to come down as the season progresses we wouldn’t want to be the team that has to try and stop them. Much of New Jersey’s success has come on the powerplay. They’re operating at an insane 30 percent so far this season thanks to their ability to get into the offensive zone quickly and finish it up with a great forecheck.
Recently added Will Butcher has been a revelation for the Devils on the powerplay where leads the team with three points, all assists. His ability to set up the powerplay and find the open-man has gone a long way in getting all of his teammates involved. Eight different players already have a point on the powerplay which speaks to the depth this young team has already exhibited.
While New Jersey has been impressive, the Capitals are lifting their weight in the offensive end as well. They’re averaging four goals a game and their superstars are doing all of the heavy lifting. Alex Ovechkin added to his ridiculous seven goals in two games performance with another goal the other night and now has a whopping eight through just four games. While his pace will eventually cool off…he is on track to score 164 goals this year. Just saying.
His eight goals lead the team in points as well but all the familiar names are up top including Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Those three names alone are enough to scare any team and the Devils will need to find a way to shut them down while also playing their new brand of wide open hockey.
New Jersey has always been known for playing a “boring” game thanks to their trap system over the years. While their style of play has changed, their results haven’t. They’ve allowed just two goals a game to start the season despite giving up just over 38 shots a game. They held the Leafs to three goals despite allowing 47 shots on net and if they turn in a similar performance against the Capitals they will be toast in a hurry.
They are vulnerable on the penalty kill as well but at least have home ice advantage on Friday. That means they have last change and will be able to choose some of their key matchups as the game goes on. Andy Greene has been solid as a starting defenseman but he’ll have his hands full against the Caps on Friday.
Washington’s defense has struggled to start the year and they’ll be in for another test against New Jersey. The Caps have allowed three goals a game at just over 36 shots per contest and now go up against one of the best offenses in the league. The loss of Kevin Shattenkirk has been evident recently but other players have stepped up in his absence including Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. They have a veteran core that should be capable of shutting down the youth of the Devils….as long as they can stay in front of them.
Cory Schneider against Braden Holtby. Schneider has been a long time goalie in the NHL, without ever receiving many accolades. At the rate he’s going this season, that may change quickly. He’s 3-0 with a 2.00 goals against average and an excellent .948 save percentage. He’s coming off a stellar performance against the Leafs and will need to have his skills sharp against the Capitals.
Across the ice is Braden Holtby, a Vezina trophy winner and candidate last season who has solidified himself as one of the best goalies in the NHL for the last few years. He’s currently 3-2 with 2.62 goals against average and a .925 save percentage and while those numbers are respectable he’ll need to get his goals against down to make another run at the league’s best goalie.
Alex Ovechkin against Cory Schneider. Ovechkin has eight (eight!) goals so far this season and now goes up against the hottest goalie in the league. It’s time for the unstoppable force against the immovable object and we couldn’t be more excited.
The Devils are flying right now and the Capitals look tired after playing two more games than New Jersey in as many days. Take the Devils at home thanks to their great odds.