Philadelphia Flyers (WC) vs. Washington Capitals (M1)
Series Price: Washington -300/Philadelphia +250
Game 1 Price: Washington -215 O/U 5
The Washington Capitals will finally look to make their first Stanley Cup Finals in the Alex Ovechkin era. They are well positioned to do so with the deepest team they’ve had in recent years and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Washington has six 20-goal scorers led by Ovechkin’s incredible 50-goal campaign along with Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie and Jason Chimera. This team has great scoring balance and a strong blue line with John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt, Dmitry Orlov and Brooks Orpik. Braden Holtby had the best season of any goalie in the NHL from start to finish and tied Martin Brodeur for most regular season wins in a single season.
Philadelphia is very top heavy with its forwards and defense. They have a solid top six led by Wayne Simmonds (32 goals), captain Claude Giroux (team leader in points), Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek. However, they have had difficulty receiving scoring from outside that group. The recent return of Sean Couturier should help but the bottom six forwards do not have the same depth of the Capitals. Philly’s defense is also a bit depth shy. Shayne Gostisbehere has been a revelation in his first season with 46 points in 64 games but the blue line is maybe their biggest concern in this series. Steve Mason’s performance in net was a big reason the Flyers snuck into the playoffs and he will need to be equally as good in this series. Philadelphia has been a tough out for Washington this season as the two teams split the four regular season meetings. The Capitals’ recent playoff disappointments also loom large like a black cloud over this franchise. But I think this year’s team has more depth and proven playoff experience than in past editions. Washington’s fifth-ranked power play against Philadelphia’s 20th-ranked penalty kill could also be a factor favoring the Caps. Philadelphia may give them a scare but ultimately, I think the Capitals prevail in six games.
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