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Capitals Open Up Homestand Against Blackhawks

Capitals Open Up Against Blackhawks NHL

The Washington Capitals (14-4-5) have surged into first place in the Metropolitan Division with an excellent run of play in November and look like legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. They’re heavily favored Thursday night over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks (7-12-2), who are mired near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Washington Capitals
  • Date/Time: December 2, 7 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Capital One Arena
  • TV Coverage: SN, NBCWA, NBCSCH
  • Opening Odds: Capitals +120 | O/U 6.5 (Line History)
  • Blackhawks vs Capitals Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Capitals opened as +120 favorites on the moneyline but were never going to maintain that value. They’re now available at anywhere from -195 to -220. The OVER is now listed at +105, which is a slight increase from -106.

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Chicago News & Notes

We do need to give the Blackhawks credit for being better in November. They’re still second-to-last in the conference but have games in hand over the Kraken and Canucks, the teams just above them in the standings, and have posted a 6-4 record in their last 10 games.

Veteran netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, an offseason acquisition, is 5-9 on the season, a record that’s more a reflection of the team’s overall defensive play than his individual performance. The question remains whether the Blackhawks will part ways with their aging assets.

Patrick Kane is leading the team with 18 points in 17 games. Kane and Jonathan Toews could prove incredibly useful to teams eyeing a Stanley Cup run, but they are two of the greatest players in franchise history and trading them won’t be easy.

Washington News & Notes

The Capitals are opening a four-game homestand that could give them an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the Metropolitan Division.

Washington boasts the second-best goal differential in the league (+25), the result of solid goaltending and an attack that’s tied for second in the NHL in goals scored despite a long injury list. Netminder Ilya Samsonov has one regulation loss in 12 games played and forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are both in the top five in the league scoring parade.

The power play could use some improvement, clicking at an 18.3 percent rate, but the team continues to miss offensive contributions from T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, Anthony Mantha, Justin Schultz and Conor Sheary.

How Chicago Will Win

The Blackhawks need to reclaim the positive form they displayed throughout November, after being shut out in their most recent game. They should look to beat the Capitals at their own game and go for goals early and often.

How Washington Will Win

The Capitals, already a daunting offensive force, need to improve their play with the man advantage. If they can tweak their power play, teams will truly fear them moving forward.

Computer Pick: Capitals -200

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Shark Bites
  • The OVER is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
  • Chicago is 6-3 in its last 9 games.
  • The OVER is 5-0 in Washington’s last 5 games.