Columbus Blue Jackets (45-30-7) at Washington Capitals (49-26-7)
NHL: Sunday, April 15th, 2018 at 7:30 PM ET (Capital One Arena)
Line and Odds: Capitals -150/Blue Jackets +136 – Over/Under: 5.5
FREE NHL Pick Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals
The Columbus Blue Jackets (45-30-7) began their second straight playoff appearance with a ferocious comeback after falling behind 2-0 in the first period. It never looked pretty for the Blue Jackets, who ended the game with three less forwards than they began the game with, but it was a crucial road win to start the series. Artemi Panarin scored the game-winning goal in overtime to clinch the victory despite having to overcome an ejection and two injuries. Nick Foligno is expected to play in Game 2 after taking a puck to the face but Alexander Wennberg is considered doubtful and rookie forward Sonny Milano is expected to replace him on Sunday. This will be the Stanley Cup Playoffs debut for Milano, who was sitting in the press box in street clothes during the first game. Picking up an early road win against a higher seed is critical and leaving Washington with a 2-0 series lead would all but close out the series.
The Washington Capitals (49-26-7) will be seeking revenge after letting a pivotal Game 1 slip away from them. The most frustrating part of the loss was how it happened, according to Washington coach Barry Trotz. The Capitals committed multiple late game penalties that led to two Columbus goals, both of which tied the game. The good news for Washington is that they looked jumped out to an impressive lead and looked like the better team for a majority of the game. Take away an unnecessary penalty and the Capitals probably leave Game 1 with a 1-0 series lead. The Capitals are looking to end their consistent postseason woes, as they have gained quite the reputation as a regular season specialist. Since making the postseason for the first time in the Ovechkin era in 2007-2008, the Capitals have only netted five series wins in eight playoff appearances. Their struggles include squandering multiple 3-1 series leads and they have yet to advance past the second round with Ovechkin.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Columbus Blue Jackets
14-4 SU in last 18 games
Total has gone OVER in last 5 games
1-4 ATS in last 5 games
12-4 SU in last 16 games
Total has gone OVER in 4 of last 5 games
8-3 SU in last 11 home games
FREE NHL Pick Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Winning the first game on the road gives Columbus a huge advantage throughout the rest of this series. The Blue Jackets have put the Capitals in a must-win situation entering Game 2. With Alexander Wennberg being out Columbus will be forced to rely on an inexperienced rookie Sonny Milano throughout this game. Something to watch will be how much ice time Milano sees and how he responds to the pressure. Washington has no option but to show up for this game, and I think they will. Despite the loss, Washington looked prepared and controlled most of the first game. While I think Columbus is in a great position to win the series, back-to-back playoff road wins and a 2-0 series lead may be asking for too much. The Capitals will come ready to play in a must-win game and even up the series before heading to Columbus.