The Washington Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin, are a -165 moneyline favorite while the Philadelphia Flyers come back as a +140 underdog for their matchup on Wednesday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Capitals seem certain that center Evgeny Kuznetsov (leg) was able to use the all-star break to get healthy to play, but the Flyers have put goalie Brian Elliott on injured reserve, so it won’t be known until after the morning skate whether Michal Neuvirth starts or minor-league call-up Alex Lyon will make his debut.
The Capitals have lost their last three home games at Capital One Arena, but last season’s team had a 6-0 surge in its first six home games after the all-star break and could easily break out again. The Capitals are also 13-3 in their last 16 regular-season home games against Metropolitan Division team, while the Flyers are 2-6 in their last eight divisional road games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
The Flyers’ 24-17-8 record includes an 8-2 mark over their last 10 games, as well as a 4-2 mark in six road games since Christmas. The first line with center Sean Couturier, left wing Claude Giroux and 20-year-old right wing Travis Konecny has been prolific of late, with the latter coming in a on career-best five-game point streak.
However, with the drop-off in goaltending due to the loss of Elliott and the Capitals’ tendency to defend well at home, Philadelphia will have a slim margin of error.
Neuvirth is 1-1 with a 3.41 goals-against average and .891 save percentage against the Capitals. The Flyers, who face the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, are 4-5 this season in the front end of back-to-back games.
The Capitals are 29-15-5 on the season, but are a so-so 6-4 in their last 10 games as well as a mere 4-3 in seven home games since the holiday break. Kuznetsov has only one goal since January 1, although a two-assist effort against the Florida Panthers on January 25 might provide a spark.
The poor results at home notwithstanding, the Capitals are also on an upswing on the specialty teams, cashing in on 27.3 percent of their power plays while going 94.4 percent on the penalty kill over their last 10 games, a big contrast to the Flyers’ respective rates of 5.6 and 72.7. That stacks up as a potential difference marker in a matchup where the total has tended to finish under recently.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is 8-4-8 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .916 save percentage against the Flyers during his career.
The total has gone over in seven of the Flyers’ last 10 games when they were also playing the following day. The total has gone under in the Capitals’ last four home games and has also finished under in four of their last seven home games against Philadelphia, with two pushes.
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