A road-heavy opening to their regular-season schedule hasn’t kept the Washington Capitals from reaching the pinnacle of the Eastern Conference as they tangle with host Toronto on Tuesday night. The Capitals have gone a red-hot 6-1-1 away from Washington, and will look to keep that stretch going against a scuffling Maple Leafs team.
Opening Odds Analysis
Toronto opened as a slight -120 favorite but can be had for either -110 or -115 in some places. The total has held steady at 6.5, the fifth straight time these teams have drawn that number (they went 2-2 O/U in the previous four).
Washington News & Notes
If you’re going to beat the Capitals, you’ll need to capitalize in the first or third periods – at least, based on Washington’s period trends so far this season. The Capitals come into Tuesday night having scored a league-high 22 second-period goals (the second-most goals by any team in any period) while surrendering only nine in the middle frame.
But while the Capitals are deserving leaders atop the Metropolitan Division, their defense and goaltending still need plenty of work. Washington’s +7 goal differential through 13 games ranks tied for third in its own division (as of Monday) and its .893 team save percentage places it in the lower third of teams league-wide. The Caps also rank sixth in total penalty minutes (125).
Toronto News & Notes
The Maple Leafs find themselves in a predicament similar to their Tuesday night opponent: they’re blessed with one of the most dangerous offenses in the league (3.54 goals per game) but have struggled to keep the puck out of their own net (3.38 GAA). Their .897 team save percentage ranks only marginally ahead of Washington’s.
These teams have already met this season, with Washington prevailing 4-3 in a game the Maple Leafs led 2-0 after just 11 minutes (Washington scored three second-period goals, hence our earlier warning for opposing teams). And Toronto doesn’t get many early advantages, having scored the first goal a league-low four times so far this season.
Betting Pick: Washington
The Capitals have had the Maple Leafs’ number in recent years, especially at Air Canada Centre. We don’t see them falling behind 2-0 in this one, and they should do enough to pick up the victory.
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Odds Shark Staff Mon, Jun 27, 1:28pm