Washington Capitals (47-24-8) at Florida Panthers (35-32-12)
NHL Hockey: Monday, April 1, 2019 (BB & T Center)
Line and Odds: Washington Capitals -148 Over/ Under: 6.5
Draftkings Picks FLORIDA PANTHERS VS. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
April Fools! That’s what I won’t be telling the Florida Panthers when I also tell them they’ll be missing the playoffs yet again this year. I swear the year of the rat put a curse on this team because, to my knowledge, this team hasn’t made it past the first round since that magical 1996. Speaking of magic, the Capitals hope to have plenty of it because unlike their division rivals, they’ll be defending Lord Stanley until their inevitable defeat or back-to-back win.
In speaking with the Panthers first, their muscle lies in the offensive. In keeping with the theme of Offense vs. Defense, the Panthers are a prime example why defense is so important in the NHL. Most teams who find themselves 8th overall in scoring usually find themselves with a postseason birth. Florida ranks 29th in goals allowed and despite their dynamite Power Play and their decent Penalty Kill, not even the old golden goalie Bobby Lou could backstop the Panthers. Florida, this man has done enough for your franchise and the way you continuously let him down is a damn shame. Maybe he should be traded back to Vancouver when he retires…
On the flip side, Washington and Alex Ovechkin finally lifted Lord Stanley last summer. While no one is picking them to repeat, they’ve turned it on over the last couple of weeks and may just be the only team in the Eastern Conference with a legitimate chance of beating Tampa in the playoffs. They did it last year so why not this year? Oh that’s right, no Barry Trotz.
As it is, the Capitals are ranked fifth in NHL scoring thanks in large part to the great eight who’s leading the league in goal scoring for the umpteenth time. Where as Florida’s defense and goaltending has let them down, Braden Holtby and company have done their share to keep the pucks out. They’re 18th in goals against but find themselves at the top of the division. With a win tonight, they might just capture the division one more time. Question is, will they?
FanDuel Picks WASHINGTON CAPITALS VS FLORIDA PANTHERS
Even though Florida’s currently six games over .500 at home, I don’t think they’ll play with enough pride to beat the surging Capitals. Washington comes into the game trying to win their division and keep the hot pace going well into June. If Luongo was ten years younger, I might give the nod to Florida on just that alone but it’s 2019. There’s also the fact that Washington are ten games over .500 on the road and are 6-3-1 in their last ten, compared to 5-5 for the Panthers.
My prediction: Washington 5, Florida 3 Final.