Capitals vs. Bruins: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Capitals vs Bruins NHL week 18
Washington vs. Boston, Capital One Arena

There isn’t much to say about two teams who are saving their energy for Saturday night when they will face each other in Game 1 of the playoffs. The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins have played several highly-entertaining games this season, but it seems unlikely Tuesday night will add to that list. Both teams are expected to play weakened lineups and most of the big names will likely be held out to ensure they are fully healthy for the postseason. The good news is it will allow more time for fans to be impressed by Bruins rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman.

Free Picks

In a game that will feature plenty of players who haven’t seen the ice much this season, I’m betting on one of the best natural goalscorers on that list. Karson Kuhlman has two goals in 19 games this season while only averaging 10 or so minutes per game this season. In his career, Kuhlman has six goals in 55 NHL games while playing mostly on the third and fourth line for the Bruins. I would expect Kuhlman to play more and get more opportunities to showcase his offensive abilities, so I’m OK with the +540 odds from the hockey betting sites in New Jersey.

KARSON KUHLMAN SCORES GOAL

The Capitals lineup without Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson scored two goals in each win over Philadelphia over the weekend. None of those three – and likely some other key playmakers – will play Tuesday against a Bruins team that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of consistent secondary scoring. This has all the makings of an ugly low-scoring hockey game in which both teams either play super conservatively or super sloppy. The best part about this bet are the +1800 odds from the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey, but it holds a lot of truth as well. Without their top playmakers, it’s hard to see either team finding ways to create much offense in this game and health will be paramount for both coaches.

UNDER 2.5 TOTAL GOALS

Part of the reason why I bet on a low-scoring game is Jeremy Swayman taking the net for the Bruins. I’m riding with this rookie to continue his strong start to the season and pitch a third shutout at +1300 odds from the NHL betting sites in New Jersey. Boston is already a team that doesn’t allow many shots, and though the Bruins will rest key blueliners, their reserves have at least seen plenty of ice time due to the injuries that hit the Bruins defensemen this season. Plus, Swayman has a ridiculous .946 save percentage this season and is coming off a routine 15-save shutout in his last start. That confidence will bleed into Tuesday’s finale and Swayman will end the season on a hot streak with a second straight shutout performance.

BOSTON BRUINS WIN BY SHUTOUT

Best Odds

Washington Boston
888Sport
-120 -103
FanDuel
-116 -102
BetMGM
-110 -105

Statistics

Head to Head

This will be the eighth and final meeting this season between Washington and Boston with the Bruins having won four of the first seven and earning points in two of their three defeats.

Stats

  • Since the Capitals last played the Bruins and allowed six goals in a loss, Washington has tightened its defense in front of goal. The loss to Boston was the end of a stretch of 13 games in which Washington allowed at least four goals seven times. Since that last Bruins game, though, the Capitals have allowed just 2.33 goals per game and held four of nine opponents to two goals or fewer. Washington’s offense hasn’t been great with just 2.9 goals per game, but Alex Ovechkin has played just twice in those nine games due to an injury.
  • The trade deadline reinvigorated the Bruins as they roar into the playoffs on a hot streak. Boston has won 12 of its 16 games since acquiring Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar and Mike Reilly at the deadline and looked quite dominant at times doing it. They are outscoring teams 58-30 over that span and are outshooting teams by an average if 11.6 shots per game.
  • Anthony Mantha got off to such a quick start in Washington with four goals and an assist in his first four games with his new team. However, he was limited to just one assist in his next seven games before recording an assist in each of the past two games.
  • Jeremy Swayman has been a revelation in the net for the Bruins since he made his debut. The rookie is 7-2-0 in nine starts this year with a remarkable .946 save percentage and 1.44 goals against average, buoyed by a pair of shutouts already. Swayman has already faced the Capitals once this season as he turned aside 31 of 33 shots to beat the Washington last month on the road.

Our Prediction for Washington vs. Boston

Boston Bruins to win

I’d be shocked if any of the Washington Capitals’ key players play in Tuesday’s finale, and the Boston Bruins will be benching most of their stars as well it seems. The difference in this game is going to be the goaltending and Boston’s playoff positioning was greatly buoyed by the play of Jeremy Swayman this season. The young rookie has been sensational this season and I don’t expect that to change in the finale against a weakened Capitals team. In a game with very few stars, I’ll bet on Swayman stealing the show for the Bruins and earning a relatively meaningless victory.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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