Washington Capitals (2-1) at Carolina Hurricanes (1-2)
NHL Hockey, Thursday, April 18, 2019 7:00 PM EST (PNC Arena)
Moneyline: Carolina -120, Washington +100, Puckline: Carolina -1.5, Washington +1.5, Over/Under: 6
Free NHL Pick Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals
In a pivotal game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Carolina Hurricanes try to make it back-to-back home wins to even the series against the Washington Capitals.
After beating the ‘Canes in consecutive home games to start the series, it seemed like Washington was well on their way to advancing to the Conference Semi-Finals and defending their Stanley Cup. However, Carolina responded in full force by defeating Washington 5-0 in game three, the first game of the series at PNC Arena, and oddsmakers now seem to be heavily favoring the ‘Canes to win again tonight and even the series at 2 a piece.
The Hurricanes need to keep up the physical style of play that allowed them to route the Caps in game 3 if they want any shot of replicating the result in game 4. The Hurricanes forecheck shutdown the potent Washington offense and even though Mrazek had a great night in goal, the shutout was arguably more a result of the ‘Canes stifling defense than the goaltending. If Carolina is able to outhit their opponent 59-34 again, they should have no trouble slowing down the opposing offense once more.
Their biggest challenges in game 4 are largely out of their control. Washington virtually totally reset their offensive lines after game 3, and as much as Washington will have to build the chemistry between new linemates, Carolina will have the tall task of maintaining discipline and tough D against lines that they haven’t had time to prepare against. With TJ Oshie being moved up to the top line, Carolina will really have to bring their A-game on defense to have another spectacular showing in this series.
Their other challenge in tonight’s matchup will be overcoming their injuries. Going into the series, the team might’ve had an edge in this department with the Caps losing defensive star Michal Kempny, but now Carolina is expected to be without both Michael Ferland and Andrei Svechnikov for at least part of the remaining series. With such significant loss , some of the 2nd and 3rd line guys are going to need to step up if this ‘Canes team wants any chance of winning game 4 and the series as a whole.
As previously mentioned, it seemed like the Caps had the series under control before leaving D.C. After game 3, however, there are some major chinks in the armor that were exposed that, though fixable, make Washington a real threat to be the next victim of the upset bug currently poisoning the Eastern Conference playoffs.
After a disastrous game 3, the Capitals are changing things up and resetting all of their offensive lines. TJ Oshie is moving up to the first line, while Tom Wilson is being sent down the second line, along with Jakub Vrbana. After a shutout game earlier in the week, it’s unlikely Carolina will be able to stop such a strong top line for 60 minutes in game 4. While the second and third lines didn’t really move the needle too much here, expect that top line to put up some points in tonight’s game.
Washington will also have to step up physically if they want to avoid a repeat performance in game 4. You can’t be hit 25 more times than you hit your opponent if you want to win a road playoff game in the NHL. Expect Washington to step up their forecheck and really show their physical presence, especially early in this game.
Free ESPN NHL Scores Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
Washington is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
Washington is 3-6 ATS in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Carolina
Carolina is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Carolina is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Carolina is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home
As much as I think Washington would love to rebound in this game, I just think that Carolina has figured out how to slow the Capitals down. Though Washington is up 2-1 in the series, if not for dumb penalties in game 1 and some missed opportunities in an OT loss in game 2, this is a series that could easily be 2-1 or even 3-0 for Carolina. With an almost entirely new lineup from first to fourth line, this will also be a difficult rebound game for the Caps after losing by 5 just days ago. Give Carolina the edge in this game, but expect the series to swing back in the Caps favor as the series returns to D.C.