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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals Predictions, Picks & Odds 8/3/20

Hockey is finally back and the season restart kicks off with some pretty big games. One of them is a massive Eastern Conference clash with the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals. The Bolts come into this game ranked second in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference overall.

They won the Presidents’ Trophy last year but were unable to turn that success into a Stanley Cup victory. Given all that has happened this season, will they be able to return and do so in 2020?

The Washington Capitals were having a good year. But just before the season was shut down due to the COVID19 crisis, they started dropping a lot of games. Although they still lead the Metropolitan Division, they went from leading the Eastern Conference to third place. Is a break what was needed to get them back on track?

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals Predictions

Well, before we get into the predictions, let’s look at some stats:

Lightning

  • Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to be starting tonight in goal for the Bolts. He comes into the game with a record of 35-14-3 this season and a goals-against-average of 2.56. He has also recorded three shutouts this season. Overall, Vasilevskiy has been one of the best goaltenders this season and may even be a candidate for the Vezina Trophy.
  • Although it has been close to four months since the Bolts last played a game, they come into this one on a one-game losing streak. However, they did play well in some preseason games just before the season restart, so they may do well in this one.
  • Tampa Bay has a strong recent winning record against teams in the Metropolitan Division, having gone 5-0 in the last five. They have also gone 15-5 against teams with a winning record in their previous 20. So, they are a team to look at for puck lines.

Capitals

  • Braden Holtby is expected to get the nod for the Capitals in this one. A lot of questions about whether Holtby is still the best goaltender at the Capitals. This season, he has posted a record of 25-14-6 and a goals-against-average of 3.11. He was named an All-Star for 2020, so he hasn’t exactly been playing terribly despite what some may think.
  • The Capitals come into this one having struggled just before the break. They had gone 4-3-3 in their last 10 and had dropped from leading the Eastern Conference to coming in third. It’s difficult to say at this point whether a break would have rectified the issues they were facing before the season came to a halt.
  • Alex Ovechkin may be closing on 35, but he is still a great player. He is currently in the top 10 all-time list of players with most goals scored in the NHL and is expected to climb a few more places before the season ends. Just having Ovechkin in the squad makes a difference to the team’s offensive capabilities.

Our Prediction

The first game of the restart for any team is difficult to predict. You don’t know whether the break did either side well and whether what happened before the season was halted is still applicable to predictions now.

Based on what was happening before the season came to a halt, the Capitals have been named underdogs. But if one were to think back a little further, the Bolts started this season on a terrible foot but were able to get the steam going after a few games into the season. This makes a moneyline or puck line on this one dangerous.

As such, we recommend trying the over 6.5 line on this one. While Andrei Vasilevskiy has been playing well, so has Alex Ovechkin, who will be chasing Gretzky’s record until he either surpasses it or retires. Holtby also has his on and off days, so he may also let a few through, even if the Capitals win.

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