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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
|O 5.5 (-120)
|U 5.5 (+100)
The Carolina Hurricanes will face the Washington Capitals for the second time this season. The Hurricanes lost the first matchup 4-2 but have three more games against the Capitals this season. The Hurricanes are having an excellent season and lead the NHL with 79 points. Their opponents, the Capitals, have lost their last three games but are still sitting in the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. They need this win to get back on track.
The Carolina Hurricanes have played solid hockey for almost the whole season. Aside from a stretch in late November and early December, the Hurricanes have not gone on a losing streak. They have a high-scoring offense, a strong defense, and some of the best goaltending in the NHL. Sebastian Aho leads the Hurricanes offense. Aho leads the team in points (56), goals (24), and assists (32). In addition to Aho, Andrei Svechnikov has 50 points. Defensively, Tony DeAngelo and Jacob Slavin lead the Hurricanes. DeAngelo and Slavin have 57 assists between them and a combined +/- of 33. However, I cannot forget the goalie. All-Star Frederik Andersen is the Hurricanes starting goalie; he has 29 wins in 38 games played and could be considered the best netminder in the league.
The Washington Capitals have a strong roster but will miss some critical pieces in this game. Defensemen Dmitry Orlov and Justin Schultz are both listed as day-to-day. Orlov and Schultz are important defensemen on this team, so the Capitals will have to figure out how to make up for their absence. The Capitals offense should still be firing on all cylinders. Veteran Alex Ovechkin is still the star on this team. The 36-year-old winger is having another great season and leads the team with 64 points. The Capitals’ biggest flaw is their goaltending. They have relied on a goaltending platoon of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. Samsonov is injured this game, so Vanecek will get the start. Regardless, neither of them are great netminders. I am picking the Hurricanes to win this game. They are the better team, playing better hockey, and significantly healthier right now.
Carolina Hurricanes beat Washington Capitals 4-2. Carolina Hurricanes cover, Over 5.5 goals.
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|Carolina Hurricanes||Head-to-Head||Washington Capitals|
|Rod Brind’Amour||Head Coach||Peter Laviolette|
|37-11-5 (1st in Metropolitan Division)||Standing||28-18-9 (4th in Metropolitan Division)|
|Sebastian Aho (56)||Points||Alex Ovechkin (64)|
|Sebastian Aho (24)||Goals||Alex Ovechkin (32)|
|Sebastian Aho (32)||Assists||Evgeny Kuznetsov (35)|
|Tony DeAngelo (19)||+/-||Nick Jensen (23)|
|Andrei Svechnikov (3.44)||Shots (Per Game)||Alex Ovechkin (4.45)|
The Hurricanes are the favorite in this game but still need to take advantage of the Capitals’ weaknesses. They need to tire out the Capitals shorthanded defense and take a lot of shots near the net. Defensively, they need to slow down Alex Ovechkin and force him to give up the puck.
The Hurricanes have a high-powered offense and are facing a Capitals team that will likely be missing a few defensemen and do not have a great goaltender. Since that is the case, they need to tire out the Capitals defenseman and take close shots. They should be able to score a few goals near the net.
Alex Ovechkin is still a wizard with the puck. He makes the right pass and has a knack for shooting and scoring. Since he is so dangerous with the puck, the Hurricanes need to force him to give up the puck. It’s as simple as that.
The Capitals are not favored to win this game and for good reason. They have lost their last three games and are missing a few players. If the Capitals want any chance of winning this game, they need to play team defense and avoid drawing penalties.
The Capitals might be without defensemen Dmitry Orlov and Justin Schultz in this game. They need to prepare for that possibility and play team defense. That means that the wingers and centers have to take on more defensive responsibility. It is not an enjoyable position for a team to be in, but it is necessary.
The Capitals are playing a Hurricanes team that is really good on the power-play. The Hurricanes convert on over 25% of their power-plays, fourth-best in the NHL. The Capitals need to be smart and avoid drawing penalties. They cannot give the Hurricanes a man advantage, or they will make them pay.
Jacob Slavin is not a star on this Hurricanes team, but he is paid over $5 million a year for a reason.
Slavin’s stats do not jump out at you, and they shouldn’t. He has three goals, 26 assists, and a +/- of 14. Statistically, his most impressive number is his TOI. He leads the Hurricanes with a TOI of 23:56.
Slavin is the key player because he leads arguably the best defense in the league. The Hurricanes only give up 2.38 goals per game and have a penalty kill that is successful almost 90% of the time.
John Carlson, like Jacob Slavin, leads his team’s defense. His stats are a little better than Slavin’s, but his real impact is on the defensive side.
Carlson plays almost 24 minutes a game and helps his team to only give up 2.8 goals per game, the ninth-best in the NHL. Since his defense will be missing some players, he has to step up and take on more responsibility.
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|Carolina Hurricanes vs Washington Capitals Information|
|What||Carolina Hurricanes vs Washington Capitals|
|Where||Capital One Arena, Washington, DC|
|When||Thursday, March 3, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN+, Hulu|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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