NHL Hockey Tuesday: Anaheim Ducks at Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals (7-2-0) will seek to regain positive momentum at home against the visiting Anaheim Ducks (5-5-1) on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center, and will look to take advantage of a low-scoring Ducks offense that comes into this match-up averaging almost two-goals less per game than the stand-out offensive attack of the Caps. While the Capitals have slowed down after their torrid pace to start the season winning 7 straight games, Washington struggled a bit during a 2-game road trip out West, falling in a close 2-1 game at Edmonton before getting beat 7-4 against Vancouver on Saturday. A rebound in tonight’s game would come at an opportune time against a struggling Anaheim squad, who after starting 4-1 on the year have dropped 5 of their last 6 contests while generating just 11 goals of offense. Looking to avoid a 3rd consecutive defeat, and the first at home on the season, the Washington Capitals will be the team to beat on Tuesday night, in our featured NHL Hockey Match-up on Tuesday.

Taking a look at the Anaheim Ducks, who move into their 4th game of a tough 7-game road stretch, the lack of scoring and an unproductive power play have been instrumental in preventing the Ducks from returning to their starting form this season. Despite winning 3-2 at Minnesota on October 27th behind 2 power play goals, the Ducks have lost two-straight games while scoring just 1 goal in those appearances, and come into tonight’s match-up off a humiliating 3-1 loss to Columbus who had previously one just once this season. Generating just 20 shots on goal in the loss, Anaheim has simply got to get back to pressing offense on opposing goaltenders, as they’ve got a fleet of capable scorers from Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry to Teemu Selanne to Ryan Getzlaf, all who were essential to the Ducks making the postseason last year. Averaging just 1.91 goals per game this season, the key to a Ducks victory in tonight’s match-up lies with their ability to set up scoring chances, get shots on Washington goalie Tomas Voukun, and limit the chances of the high-powered Capitals offense on the power play against Jonas Hiller.

If Washington continues to exploit the power play like they have already this year (3rd in the league at 25.7 percent), Anaheim and goalie Jonas Hiller could be in for a long night at the Verizon Center. Ranking 1st in goals per game, the Caps offense headlined by Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom are certainly deserving of a preseason favorite to make the Stanley Cup, and when given the opportunity against short-handed defenses, make quick work of opposing goalies, especially at home. The one area of concern in this match-up could be the penalty kill for Washington, which ranks 23rd in the league at 77.1 percent, and will be an area that Anaheim will look to exploit, especially with more focus being placed on their lagging 21st-ranked power play. The Ducks certainly were able to get that going in their last match-up against Washington this past February scoring 6 times, however behind Alexander Semin’s hat trick the Caps still managed a road win 7-6, showing that the Ducks’ focus against Washington can’t simply lie with more offensive production. Taking a look down the Anaheim Ducks defensive lineup and seeing negative +/- figures for Cam Fowler, Francois Beauchemin and Lubomir Visnovsky (all leaders in time on ice), paints a glaring picture of an underperforming back line that simply has to step up in tonight’s game, especially if the Anaheim offense is unable to show up.

Betting Lines for Washington vs. Anaheim at Intertops.eu Sportsbook

Although coming into this match-up on a 2-game slide, the Washington Capitals are the sure favorite to win this match-up tonight, getting -175 odds to win at home. Anaheim enters as a +155 underdog coming off 2 straight road losses as well and against the spread the Ducks get 1.5 goals at -190 odds. The Caps give up 1.5 goals at +165 odds tonight, and with the offensive production differences evident in this match-up, if you’re taking the Capitals to win, a look for them to cover the points spread might not be a bad wager to follow at Intertops.eu today either. Lastly for online sports betting options on this contest, the over/under on goals sits at 5.5 (+100 over, -120 under) in a nod that the anemic Ducks offense will likely keep scoring low despite what Washington does.

Our Pick to Win:

Two slumping teams generally can be tough to gauge in a match-up against one another, but with fundamental offensive issues currently plaguing the Ducks during the start of the season, it’s Washington as the team to beat in this match-up tonight. After scoring 4 goals at Vancouver over the weekend in a loss, and continuing scoring almost 4 goals a game through the first 9 contests, expect the Caps to come out in force and attack Anaheim’s defense from all sides, and put plenty of pressure on Ducks’ goalie Jonas Hiller early. Tomas Voukun looks to be in great position to keep goals to a minimum tonight in a rebound game for him (replaced in the 7-4 loss to Vancouver), and based on his outstanding early season form a return to the win column seems evident. With the Ducks continuing their offensive struggles and having potential to be exposed on the power play, Washington nabs this match-up 4-1 at home tonight.

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