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NHL Free Pick: Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview

NHL: Washington vs Toronto Pick

Hockey Night in Canada’s early match up on Saturday features a game between the Washington Capitals (9-8-4) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (11-8-3). Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks all season so check back in often.

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Washington vs Toronto
When: Saturday, Nov 29 2014 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
TV: CBC
NHL ATS Gambling Line: 
NHL O/U Line: 
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This will be the first meeting between the Caps and Leafs this season. Both teams missed out on the playoffs a year ago and figure to both have to fight tooth and nail to get in this year.

The Leafs currently sit in the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and the Caps are three points back from where the Leafs sit, but just two points behind the Rangers for third in the Metropolitan Division.

Capitals

The Caps will come into Saturday night’s game on the back half of back to back games with travel in between from Washington to Toronto.

As of Friday the Caps are on a two game slide where they have dropped games against the Sabres and the Islanders, whom they play Friday evening.

For a team that features high powered forwards like Alexander Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom, along with offensively-gifted defenseman Mike Green who is having a resurgence this season (12 points in 19 games), the Caps have been finding it tough to score of late. Washington is 2-3 in their last five games but have managed just nine goals in those five games.

You can’t really fault Ovechkin who has chipped in 11 goals and 20 points so far, but the depth scoring just has not been there. Young and talented forwards like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky have not been able to add the secondary punch to compliment Ovechkin and Backstrom yet this year.

Green figures to sit out Friday night with an upper-body injury and should be treated as questionable to play Saturday. Without Green adding some firepower on the point or dictating the power play, this team is a bit stymied when it comes to creating offense.

Maple Leafs

All is (sort of) well in Leaf Land for the time being. The team completely fell off the rails a week ago with losses to Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Nashville, the latter two coming by a combined score of 15-4.

Give the blue and white some credit though, they bounced back with big wins over division rivals Tampa Bay and Detroit in succession and fought back from a 2-0 deficit in Pittsburgh to earn a tough point on the road against what is arguably the best team in the East.

When the Leafs are going, they’re doing what Washington has struggled to do, and that is get scoring from players not named Kessel, Van Riemsdyk or Bozak.
Leo Komorov has been a really nice addition with 16 points playing most of his time on the third line, his line mate Mike Santorelli has added some depth production as well with 12 points and a plus 7 rating.

Jonathan Bernier should get the start in net again on Saturday for the fourth straight game, and while he stumbled against Nashville he, like the team has bounced back and was sharp against Tampa and Detroit and despite allowing four against the Penguins, was solid aside from a bit of a weak early goal.

Capitals vs. Maple Leafs 4* Free Pick

The first meeting of the season is always a bit tough to pick as these teams might take some time to feel each other out. Alex Ovechkin always loves playing in Toronto when the spotlight is on him and the Leafs will need to keep him in check to have any hope at winning.

Take Toronto on the ML in this game.

History would say to go with Toronto in this one; in the last two years this series is split at three games a piece and the Leafs have won both games at the ACC.

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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.


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