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Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Picks & NHL Preview

Caps vs Lightning NHL Line & Handicapping

Scuffling Caps Look to Snap Skid Against Lightning Thursday Night

The Washington Capitals will be looking to put an end to an ugly four game losing streak Thursday night when they pay visit to Tampa and a Lightning team that has remained solid despite the omission of Steve Stamkos from the lineup. The Lightning are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games overall but lost in shocking fashion the last time they played Washington – coughing up a three goal lead only to lose 6-5 on Alex Ovechkin’s fourth goal of the game. Washington is clinging to eighth in the East on the heels of their recent funk while the Lightning continue to sit in third in the conference just past the half way mark in the season.

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Washington (20-16-2-4) at Tampa Bay (26-13-2-2)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 9, 2014
Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
Broadcast: RDS, NHLN-US, SN-DC, SUN
Caps vs. Lightning Betting Lines
Washington Capitals +1½ -245 +124 Ov 5½ -105
Tampa Bay Lightning -1½ +205 -137 Un 5½ -105

There isn’t a whole lot going right in Washington right now. Need proof? Alex Ovechkin has just two points in his last six games, Erik Fehr is pointless in three games, Dmitry Orlov hasn’t hit the score sheet in four games and John Carlson hasn’t registered a point in his last five games. None of the three goaltenders is playing particularly well leaving Coach Adam Oats to be creative with his roster.

Oats may give Michael Neuvirth his first start since November 22 after injury and a span of 10 straight games as a healthy scratch. Philipp Grubauer lost last Thursday, his fifth start in a row, and Braden Holtby gave up five goals on 11 shots in a 5-3 road loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday leaving Neuvirth and his 2-3-1 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and .912 save percentage to come to the rescue.

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Hardly confidence-inspiring is it?

On the flip side the Tampa Bay Lightning keep chugging along – led by Martin St. Louis who shrugged off his snub for the Canadian Olympic team and registered two goals and an assist for the Lightning Tuesday in a win over the Jets.
The Lightning have missed Steven Stamkos but not to the level most would have thought. The Lightning average an OK 2.74 goals per game thanks in large part to St. Louis. But others have stepped up in Stamkos’s absence. Valtteri Filppula has 14 points in his past 11 games, Teddy Purcell has seven points in a five-game point streak, Ondrej Palat has eight points in a seven-game streak, Nikita Kucherov has four points in four games, Victor Hedman has two points in two games and guys like Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas have played very well the last couple of weeks.

I know the Lightning lack big manes but they are a blue collar team that plays hard each and every shift with everyone contributing.

Goaltending is a bit of a question for Tampa. Ben Bishop has been terrific this year -22-5-2 with a 1.86 GAA and .935 save percentage but he was banged up Sunday versus the Oilers.

Anders Lindback would get the start if Bishop can’t go – he is 0-1-1 with a 3.19 GAA and .846 save percentage in his last two games played.

Dave’s FREE NHL Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:
• WAS are 2-6 in their last 8 vs. Atlantic.
• Under is 45-20-11 in WAS last 76 vs. Atlantic.
• WAS are 9-4 in their last 13 Thu. games.
• TB are 8-1 in their last 9 Thu. games.
• TB are 11-4 in their last 15 home games.
• TB are 8-3 in their last 11 overall.
• Home team is 12-1 in the last 13 meetings.

It’s pretty hard to like the Washington Capitals right now although a breakout is certainly imminent. Against the Lightning, I think their struggles continue – that is if Lindback can keep the puck out of the Lightning net. Martin St. Louis is the biggest difference maker in the game at this point in time.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning -137


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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.