If the NHL season does resume, many believe that it’s only going to be for the playoffs. If that’s the case, the Washington Capitals would be the Metropolitan Division champions yet again and would face the Wild-Card Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1. Here’s an overview. Let’s see how the NHL odds could be for the Capitals vs Hurricanes.
NHL projected playoff matchup: Capitals vs Hurricanes
- Odds to win Eastern Conference: Capitals +500, Hurricanes +1400
- Odds to win Stanley Cup: Capitals +1200, Hurricanes +3500
The suspension of the NHL regular season may keep Washington star Alex Ovechkin from another 50-goal season. Ovechkin is tied for the NHL goal scoring lead with David Pastrnak at 48, one up on Auston Matthews and it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that he would hit the magical 50 mark for the ninth time in his career until the coronavirus crisis halted the season.
“Of course, you want to score 50,” Ovechkin said. “But right now, like everyone is saying, the most important thing is be stay safe and to get this thing done. It sucks to not score 50 and to not get another milestone, but you have to think about your family, people and fans to be safer. I’m pretty sure the sooner this is going to be over, the sooner we’re going to start back playing hockey. It’ll be nice to score again 50 goals or reach those milestones, but right now our mind is on just trying to be safe.”
Ovechkin could tie Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy as the only NHLers to score 50 goals in a season nine times. While Ovechkin probably won’t be the MVP of this season, blueliner John Carlson is considered to be the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy. Carlson was on pace for 89 points prior to the shutdown. If he hit that total then it would have been the most for a blueliner since Ray Bourque had 91 points in 1993–94. He could have joined an elite group in that range with the likes of Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, Denis Potvin, Brian Leetch, Phil Housley, Gary Suter and Bourque.
Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce is highly unlikely to be available to play if the 2019-20 season resumes following shoulder surgery. “I don’t know how long this (pause) goes, but he wasn’t expected to come back until October,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. He underwent surgery on his right shoulder back on March 5. Pesce was given a four-to-six month timetable for his recovery.
Fellow defenseman Sami Vatanen may make his l debut if the NHL resumes play this season. Vatanen skated with the Hurricanes a few times after he was acquired from New Jersey at the trade deadline, but a setback prior to the pause in the season prevented him from playing. “We were told he was going to be ready the first week of March when we made the deal, and that didn’t happen,” Brind’Amour said. “Now I would say that would be for sure, but you never know.”
Another defenseman, Dougie Hamilton, could be available for Carolina if the NHL season resumes play this season. Hamilton sustained a fractured left fibula back on Jan. 16 against Columbus.
These teams completed their regular season series and split the four games. They last played Jan. 13 in D.C. and the Caps won 2-0. Ovechkin scored two first-period goals. It was the first career shutout for rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov, who stopped 23 shots. It was the first shutout of the season for Washington. Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for the Hurricanes.