The Washington Capitals host the Chicago Blackhawks this Friday January 13th, 2017 at the Verizon Center in DC, the game matches two of the best teams in the league and is sure to be a must watch event.
The Chicago Blackhawks are traveling to Washington after four winning game streak at home, a nice change of pace for the leaders of the Western Conference who just a few short weeks ago, were in a little of a funk.
The Washington Capitals are possibly the hottest team in the league right now, with a 7-winning game streak after defeating their bitter rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. During this game, Alex Ovechkin earned his 1000 career point, this was his 880 NHL game.
The Capitals have played a total of 41 games this season for a record of 27-9-5 placing them second in the Eastern Conference behind the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks continue to lead the Western Conference after 44 games with a record of 27-12-5.
Washington has an impressive home record this season of 16-5-1, while the Chicago Blackhawks enter this contest with a slightly less impressive away record of 10-8-1. Historically, the Capitals have the upper hand when these two teams play against each other, they have won 7 out of the last 10 contests over the years.
After the record setting goal on Wednesday against the Penguins, Alex Ovechkin leads the capitals offense with 21 goals, 14 assists and 163 shots making his shooting percentage 12.9%; Nicklas Backstrom is the leader in assists with 27and 11 goals; followed closely by Evgeny Kuznetsov who has 23 assists and 5 goals. Goalie Braden Holtby has started in 33 games this season, and so far, he has won 20 of those, he has received 906 shots against saving a total of 844, in other words he has allowed 62 goals in 33 games, for an average of 1.90 goals against per game.
The Chicago Blackhawks offense does shine as much as that of the Capitals, their point leader is Artem Anisimov who has 18 goals and 13 assists for a total of 31 points and a shooting percentage of 25.7. Patrick Kane is the all-time leader in assists with 33 and 12 goals for a total of 45 points this season, while Artemi Panarin is the other offensive star with 25 assists and 17 goals on 112 shots for a shooting percentage of 15.2. On the defensive side, the Blackhawks are better equipped, with two good goalies, Corey Crawford has started in 27 games this year out of which he is 16-8-3, he has received 837 shots against and allowed 63 goals in a total of 1,607 minutes on the ice. The other Chicago goalie is Scott Darling, he has started in 17 games and he is 11-4-2 after 1,039 minutes on the ice, he has received 534 shots against and allowed 40 goals. While the numbers donít seem that impressive the reason I say they are better equipped is because both goalies have accumulated a fair amount of play time this season which is not the case of the Capitols who seem to only start Holtby, which means if he were to get injured they would be a precarious position.
Goalies have not been released and therefore www.AceSportsbook.com has not posted a hockey gambling line yet, but I strongly suspect the Capitals will be the favorites in this match because of their winning streak and the home field advantage.
Offensively I believe the Capitals are a better team and for that reason they are my pick in this game.