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While the Caps are the better team on paper, the Bolts did just peel off back-to-back wins over Arizona and Pittsburgh. Yes, the winless Coyotes and the decimated Penguins. Nonetheless, putting up 10 goals in two games is no easy feat and we expect the Tampa sticks to stay hot in this one.
While Washington is sitting among the league’s elite at the moment, they have also given up 19 goals in eight games so there’s a good chance this Monday nighter could end up being a shootout (or head to a shootout). Either way, we’re predicting a very entertaining affair to start the month of November.
The Caps have had a good early stretch to the season. With that in mind though, they haven’t really played the league’s most challenging teams just yet. Also, to add to that, they already have one loss under their belts at the hands of the Bolts back in early October. So, what can be done to make sure that number doesn’t hit two this early in the year?
The Caps need to do better locking down their long spells of possession. Honestly, ever since Alex Ovechkin walked through the doors of the Caps brass, they’ve been one of the better possession teams in the league. When your leader is a cement block that can’t be knocked off the puck, it generally helps quite a bit. Now, even though it’s early and there’s still time to iron out the kinks, Washington has done a good job of establishing themselves as a possession heavy club again, but their capitalizing has lacked.
The most blaring stat when it comes to wasted possession is power-play percentage and Washington currently sits 19th in the league with a 19.4% finishing rate. If the Caps can find a way to add to the board while still tiring out their opponents early they can put this one out of reach with ease.
The loss of team MVP Nikita Kucherov for the next 8-10 weeks is a tough pill to swallow. He’s been their rock for countless years and is an all-around fun and team favorite in the city of storms. The second bitter part of that is finding a guy who can replace him. That, in itself, is no easy task, but Tampa does have the talent and the depth.
Currently, Steven Stamkos has stepped up immensely with his 12 points in eight games. With just five points each, though, Andrej Palat and Brayden Point need to be the next guys in line. They’ve been aces in the hole over the last few years with immeasurable contributions during last year’s cup run especially, but a combined six goals to this point just isn’t cutting it.
Tampa will need to have all lines firing as soon as the rubber hits the road on Monday or it could be an early curtain call for the defending champs in this one.
The Caps have won five of their last six when playing on two days’ rest. Meanwhile, the Bolts have won 52 of their last 74 home games.
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|Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning Game Information|
|Teams||Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lighting|
|Location||Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida|
|Time||Monday November 1, 2021 7:00pm EST|
|How to watch||NHL Network, Sportsnet|
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Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.More info on Ryan Sullivan
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