Washington at Minnesota NHL Lines, Free Pick & TV InfoWhen: Tuesday, March 28, 8 PM ET
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
TV: CSNB; FSN; NHL Center Ice
Opening NHL Lines: Wild favored by TBA
Why Bet on the Capitals?Washington had 106 points, three ahead of Columbus in the Metropolitan Division and for the Presidents’ Trophy, which the Capitals also won last year. They enter on a four-game winning streak. Washington hosted Arizona on Saturday and beat the Coyotes 4-1.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season and Daniel Winnik had the game winner and an empty-netter as the Capitals overcame listless stretches to win. Ovechkin became the third player in league history to score 30-plus goals in each of his first 12 seasons, joining Mike Gartner (15) and Wayne Gretzky (13). Ovechkin, 31, is off his 50-goal pace from last season but is still tied with linemate T.J. Oshie for the team lead. He has led the Capitals in scoring every season since entering the league.
Since a career-worst 10-game goal drought, Ovechkin has three in his past five. Over that stretch, he has 33 shots on goal and 60 attempts and has drawn a handful of penalties.
Braden Holtby blocked 28 of 29 shots in the win. Holtby extended his win streak to four games while allowing only one goal in the third. He was perfect for the first two periods of play. Peter Holland scored 12:29 minutes into the third to tie the game.
The Capitals established a new team record for home wins with their 31 st . They had won 30 games at home twice previously—in 1985-86 and 2009-10. The 31 wins on home ice are also the most in the NHL this season. The Penguins are second with 29.
“Home ice is everything in the playoffs,” said Winnik. “You see teams that have won it, they do exceptional on home ice. We have a lot of confidence in this building and that’s gotta carry over into the playoffs.”v
Why Bet on the Wild?Minnesota is seven points behind Chicago for the Central Division lead and most points in the Western Conference. The Wild enter on a three-game losing streak.
On Sunday, Minnesota made its final-ever visit to Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena and lost 3-2 in overtime. Andreas Athanasiou scored 1:52 into overtime on a breakaway. Jimmy Howard made the game-winning goal possible by making the last of his 24 saves in overtime.
Nate Prosser scored his first goal of the season. Prosser was playing in his 36th game of the season and his goal drought dated back to Feb. 14, 2015. His goal scoring slump lasted 106 games, which was the second longest active streak in the NHL. The longest belongs to Brian Dumoulin at 146 games. Eric Staal added the other goal. Staal has 26 goals and 58 points in 75 games. This is the most goals he’s scored in a single season since 2010-11.
Minnesota forwards seem to all be slumping at the same time. Nino Niederreiter has scored only one goal in his last 19 games, while Jason Zucker has one goal in his last 12. Mikko Koivu has registered only goals in his past 23 games and Charlie Coyle has two goals in his past 19.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 16 of 19 shots in the Detroit loss. Dubnyk never faced more than eight shots in a single period and he only faced three shots in the third frame, but one of them resulted in a goal. Dubnyk has now lost six of his last seven decisions. The Wild held the Red Wings, about to miss the playoffs for the first time in 26 years, to three third-period shots. With the Wild leading 2-1, one of those shots, 55 seconds in, sailed by Dubnyk off a Tomas Tatar power-play one-timer. In the final minute of regulation, Howard came up large on Staal and Zucker, then again on a 2-on- 1 shot by Erik Haula in overtime.
The Wild’s past four losses and five of their past six are against non-playoff teams. But, Koivu said of the Detroit loss, “I thought it was better. That’s not enough. But you’ve got to start somewhere. There was a lot of good in that game, and we just came short.”