In the NHL, there are no prizes for having the best record in the league at the midway point of the season. If the team at the top right now maintains that lead all the way to the finish, they will win the President’s Trophy, although that has become an award that is the kiss of death. It is amazing how infrequently that winning the President’s Trophy translates to any sort of success in the postseason. You often hear hockey folks talk about teams being built for the playoffs, and the reality is that they are seldom the same teams that are dominant in the regular season. The Washington Capitals have been a team that has been brilliant in the regular season, yet they have only once turned that into a Stanley Cup win. The Capitals are once again putting in a great regular season display, but it is far too early to know if that will bleed over into the playoffs. For now, the Capitals will hit the road on Friday night to face the Carolina Hurricanes as a 1 ½ goal underdog. The goal total for this one is set at 6 ½.
When: Friday, January 3 at 7:30 PM EST
Where: PNC Arena, Charlotte
NHL Odds: Get the Latest Odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on the Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals jumped out to a fantastic start this season and have maintained that all the way to the midway point of the season, although, they have been in a mild slid of late. The Capitals are coming into this one having lost back to back games to fall to 5-5-0 on their last 10, which is well off the pace that they have been setting this season. Washington is 27-9-5 for 59 points this season, which has them tied with the Boston Bruins for the best point total in the NHL. This is a team that has been outstanding on the road, going 16-5-1 to this stage of the season. They have struggled against the Hurricanes, though, winning just once in their last 7 meetings. They are 1-4 SU in their last 5 visits to Carolina.
Why bet on the Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes were one of the surprise teams in last season’s playoffs, proving that getting in is all that really matters. The Hurricanes are in the playoff picture this year, going 24-14-2 for 50 points. They are 9 points back of the Capitals right now, but for Carolina, the next step is to move on up out of the Wild Card spot and into the top 3 in the Metropolitan Division, where they are currently sitting in the #4 slot. They cannot get there with a win tonight, but they can close the gap to just 1 point out of second. The Hurricanes have certainly been playing well enough to make a move, winning back to back games ahead of this one and going 6-3-1 in their last 10. Carolina is 12-6-0 on home ice this season.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
This will be the third meeting between Carolina and Washington this season and it is the Hurricanes who have won both thus far. I think they come out and make it 3 in a row in this one.
Washington Capitals 3 Carolina Hurricanes 4