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Capitals in Rare Territory Ahead of Conference Final Opener With Lightning

After finally slaying the dragon that is the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, the Washington Capitals are finally back in the conference final for the first time since 1998 and draw a tough matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning as a result. Can the Capitals keep up their streak of cashing tickets on the road? Washington is 10-1 SU in its past 11 away from home.

MyBookie opened the Lightning as -177 home favorites with a total of 6.

  • The total has gone OVER in 21 of the Lightning’s last 30 games against east Metropolitan teams.
  • The Lightning are 4-0 SU in their last four games (avg winning margin: 2.0).
  • The Capitals are 8-3 SU in their last 11 games against the Lightning.

The Caps climbed out of a 2-0 hole in the first round by rattling off four straight against the Columbus Blue Jackets and knocked off the Pens in six games, so Washington is playing with house money right now. Captain Alex Ovechkin is making his first appearance in the conference final after recording a team-high eight goals in 12 playoff games.

Goaltender Braden Holtby, who was on the bench at the beginning of the postseason in favor of Philipp Grubauer, owns a 2.04 goals-against average in the playoffs and is 9-3-2 with a .910 save percentage in 16 career contests against the Bolts. Forward Andre Burakovsky hasn’t participated in the team’s last 10 games as a result of an upper-body injury but practiced with the club on Thursday and is considered day to day.

While the Caps are lacking playoff experience, the Lightning have it in spades. This series marks Tampa Bay’s third trip to the conference final in the last four seasons, but the current version of the Lightning is arguably the best team they’ve had under general manager Steve Yzerman. The line of Brayden Point, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat has limited their opponents’ top line at even strength in the first two series and will be tested against the Capitals trio of Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ovechkin.

Netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy boasts a 2.20 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in the postseason, but went 0-3-0 vs Washington in his career before winning two of his last three games against the Caps. The Russian starred in the second round against the Boston Bruins, as the Lightning dispatched the B’s in five games.

When facing a closing total of 6, the UNDER is 7-1 in the Capitals’ last eight games. Washington has also gone below the total in seven of its past 10 postseason tilts.

Opening Odds & Computer Pick

The visiting Washington Capitals opened as +175 moneyline underdogs in this one at most online sportsbooks tracked at OddsShark, including BetOnline. The total opened at 6 for those preferring OVER/UNDER betting; watch for the line updates during the day at Bovada.

OddsShark computer prediction formulas pick a 3.2-2.2 win for the Lightning on Friday. View the computer score prediction and who will win the pick on the moneyline for all upcoming NHL matchups here.

Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning Matchup

Team Betting Records & Power Rankings

The Tampa Bay Lightning sport a record of 62-25-5 heading into this matchup, while the Washington Capitals sit at 57-28-9 on the season. The OVER/UNDER records are 54-35-3 for the Lightning and 52-40-2 for the Capitals. Stay Informed: follow us on Twitter for odds specials, betting line moves and Tampa Bay vs Washington injuries news.

The Capitals-Lightning odds would favor the Capitals if the lines were set according to our power ranks. Tampa Bay is rated No. 10 in the current OddsShark poll, while Washington is at No. 7.

Statistical Matchup

Offensively, the game matches up the Tampa Bay Lightning's No. 1-ranked offense (3.6 goals per game) against a Washington Capitals defense that ranks No. 12 at 2.88 goals per game allowed. The Lightning power play has clicked at a 24.28% rate while the Capitals have a 80.13% rate on the penalty kill.

Recent Outings Betting Recap

Washington won its last outing, a 2-1 result against the Penguins on May 7. Bettors who backed the Capitals at +165 on the moneyline won on the day, and the total score (3) sent UNDER bettors to the payout window.

Tampa Bay was a 3-1 winner in its last match at home against the Bruins. They won as favorites, while the total score of 4 made winners of UNDER bettors.

Betting Trends
  • Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
  • Washington is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Washington's last 6 games
  • Washington is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games on the road
  • Tampa Bay is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
  • Tampa Bay is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
  • Tampa Bay is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games at home
  • Tampa Bay is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games at home

Next Betting Matchups

Washington at Tampa Bay, Sunday, May 13