St. Louis Blues vs Washington Capitals - Predictions and Odds

How to Watch

Where: Enterprise Center – St. Louis, MI.

When: Wednesday, October 2, 8PM EST

How (TV/Radio): NBC Sports | WFAN

Washington Capitals (Away)

Head Coach: Todd Reirden{All-Time 48-26-8 WAS}

The 2018 Stanley Cup champions have one of the toughest tests of any team when it comes to their NHL season opener – they will face the 2019 Stanley Cup champions on the road. However, they’re the Washington Capitals. The Caps finished the preseason atop the Metropolitan division with a record of 5-1.

Offense

They do enter this game with a few offensive challenges, namely if captain and leading goal scorer Alexander Ovechkin will be ready to go for opening night. Ovi is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury but it is believed not to be serious. One offensive threat that will definitely not be on the ice for the Capitals (and for the following two games afterwards) is Evgeni Kuznetzov, as he was suspended for the first three games of the season for a video that showed him partaking in some rather unnacceptable drug use. There are a few questions facing the Caps offense as there still seems to be gaps to fill with the loss of Andre Burakovsky and Brett Connolly during the offseason. The Washington Capitals also face a similar question as the Toronto Maple Leafs heading into this season: Is this the last chance for a Stanley Cup? Ovechkin is locked up for the next two seasons but Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holty become free agents at season’s end. Should the team be in contention this season, they may not be able to afford to trade them for future assets and could potentially see some players walk away scott free next year.

Defense

One big change defenseively for the team this season could be the penalty kill. For a team this strong, the penalty kill was a weakness for the team. The mid-season addition of Carl Hagelin allowed for improvement and it will be interesting to see what he will bring to the table throughout a full season. The defensive core for the Capitals, as a whole, actually appears stronger than ever heading into this season. The team added no-nonsense defenseman Radko Gudas, they still have Dmirtry Orlov, and top-pairing d-man John Carlson is within the top-tfive favorites to take home the James Norris Memorial award for the league’s top defenseman.

Check out our article covering the favorites to take home NHL’s top awards.

Goaltending

Backstopping that defense core is, once again, Braden Holtby. The former Vezina and Jennings award winner finished last season with a record of 32-19-5. He had a goals against average of 2.82 and a save percentage of .911. Backing him up is the lesser known goaltender Pheonix Copley. Some may not know much about him but Copley played 27 games last season for the Caps, posting a record of 16-7-3 with a GAA of 2.90 and a .905 save percentage.

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St. Louis Blues (Home)

Head Coach: Craig Berube{All-Time 113-77-34 STL, PHI}

Just like their opponents, the St. Louis Blues face an equally big challenge in their season opener as they face the team that won the Stanley Cup just one year before them. It will be interesting to see how this mostly intact championship team fares playing a whole season together as they didn’t really come around until the mid-point of last season.

Offense

Prior to January, the St. Louis Blues were one of the last place teams in the league. That allowed the team’s brass to make a few gambles that ultimately paid off. During the offseason, the team did lose forward Pat Maroon to free agency but ultimately kept the Cup-winning team intact. They are also one of the deepest and youngest teams in the league. Offensive talents such as Vladimir Tarasenko, Colton Parayko, and last seasons Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly still remain with the team. However, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups is no easy tasks and that is evident as seen by odds posted by the oddsmakers, listing the St. Louis Blues only among the middle of the pack to win this year’s Stanley Cup.

 

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A ring so beautiful it took 52 years to create. #stlblues

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Defense

The Blues, although doing little to enhance their offense, did land quite a big fish on their defensive end. Giving up fairly little, the Blues were able to acquire defenseman Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes. Faulk (with the loss of Joel Edmunson) was the only drastic change to a championship team that ultimately stayed the same. Last season’s defense allowed the third-fewest shots against per game and the fifth-fewest goals against. Jay Bouwmeester and captain Alex Pietrangelo remain fixtures of the team that Justin Faulk will only enhance. Should their goaltending hold up their end of the bargain, the St. Louis Blues could end the season as the league’s most successful defensive team.

Goaltending

Speaking of goaltending, the biggest gamble the team made in January, when they found themselves in the league’s basement, was the promotion of rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington in to the starting goaltender position. Binnington became a top-three contender for last season’s Calder Trophy for the NHL’s rookie fo the year after he posted a regular season record of 24-5-1. He finished with a GAA of only 1.89 and a save percentage of .927. Jake Allen will be backing Binnington up this season. Allen finished with a 19-17-8 record, a 2.83 goals against average, and a .911 save percentage.

The last time these two teams went toe-to-toe was on January 14. The defending Cup champion St. Louis Blues came out victorious with a score of 4-1.

What’s at Stake?

This is merely a bragging rights game at this point. It’s the first game of the season for both teams and it pits one former champion against another. The most interesting aspect of the game is that, for the most part, the rosters of both of these teams has essentially stayed the same. With two healthy teams going facing off against one another, this could be a major early season treat for fans of the sport as a whole. Hockey fans who rarely watch the Blues or Caps should still be sure to tune in simply to watch two teams showcase how impressive the game of hockey can be played.

Questions to Answer

Simply put, will Washington Capitals’ captain Alexander Ovechkin make it to the ice for the season opener?

Will St. Louis Blues’ goaltender Jordan Binnington be able to continue his strong play from last season without skipping a beat? Are we on the verge of a sophomore slump?

Can the St. Louis Blues maintain their quality of play they finished last season with against a league that made significant roster changes during the offseason? Are oddsmakers underestimating the defending champions?

Washington Capitals Injury Report

F Alexander Ovechkin – day-to-day (lower-body)

F Evgeni Kuznetsov – Suspended

D Michal Kempny – IR (hamstring)

St. Louis Blues Injury Report

F Erik Foley – IR (concussion)

Current Odds Listed for Capitals vs Blues

Check out the latest odds here, provided by New Jersey sportsbooks: 888Sport, Unibet and Draftkings.

Money Line:

SportsbookWSH CapitalsSTL Blues
888Sport NJ+120-143
DraftKings+123-143
Unibet NJ+120-143

Puck Line:

SportsbookWSH Capitals +1.5STL Blues -1.5
888Sport NJ-230+185
DraftKings-230+185

Total Goals:

SportsbookOver 5.5Under 5.5
888Sport NJ-114-107
DraftKings-114-107

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