Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals
Tampa Bay vs Washington, Scotiabank Arena

Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals were in the midst of heated battles when the season went on pause in March. The Lightning were trying to catch the Bruins atop the Atlantic Division while the Capitals were trying to hold on to the Metropolitan Division lead amid a push from the Pennsylvania teams. Now both believe they have what it takes to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the NHL playoffs and are set about proving it Monday in the first game of the seeding round-robin.

Free Picks

If both teams start rusty as expected, the third period should be fairly lively between these two teams. The Capitals owned the third period during the regular season with a league-best 95 goals in the final 20 minutes, so it’s a safe bet Washington will likely find the back of the net in the third. Tampa Bay just has so much scoring depth that the Lightning should be able to score with the game on the line in the third.

BOTH TEAMS SCORE IN THE THIRD PERIOD (+114)

Nothing about the previous stats would suggest that these teams are capable of playing a low-scoring game considering 11 of the last 16 games between these two teams had at least six combined goals. However, it would be unfair to assume both of these teams will be firing on all cylinders for the first half of the game, so while there might be goals, they won’t be very pretty. The game should pick up over the last period and a half, and a goal every five minutes doesn’t’ seem plausible in what is essentially an NHL playoffs game.

UNDER 6.5 GOALS (-110)

All things being equal, Tampa Bay probably is the better team and worthy of being the favorite on the NHL betting sites in New Jersey. However, the Lightning are at a big advantage with the news that Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov is injured and will miss the playoffs. Although Samsonov is listed as the backup to Braden Holtby, he was the better goalie this year. Holtby had 11 starts with a save percentage under .850, tied for the most in the NHL this season. The edge in net and more balanced scoring means Tampa Bay should be able to win this one in 60 minutes.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING TO WIN IN REGULATION (+125)

Best Odds

Washington Tampa Bay
888Sport
+106 -129
Sugar House
+106 -129
FanDuel
+105 -125

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the fourth meeting of the year between these two teams, but first in 2020. The Capitals won all three previous games, which came in a span of three weeks from Nov. 29 to Dec. 21.

Stats

  • Over the last three seasons, Tampa Bay has a 4-2-0 record in Toronto and Washington is 3-1-0 at Scotiabank Arena.
  • These two teams were in the same division from 1993-2013, but since the split, the Capitals own a 14-3-4 edge in the regular season and beat the Lightning 4-3 in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Alex Ovechkin has led the league in goals in seven of the last eight seasons, scoring on 13.5 percent of his shots over that span.
  • Alex Killorn is having a career year for the Lightning with 26 goals and 49 points, and leads the team with seven game-winning goals this year.

Our Prediction for Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals

Tampa Bay to win

Goaltending has always been Washington’s weakness, so not having its best goalie for the time being is a big problem. Tampa Bay finally hit its stride right before the season went on pause, and the Lightning will continue where they left off against the Capitals.

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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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