The beginning of 2022 was rough for the Washington Capitals, who dealt with tons of injuries and ineffective goaltending in January and February. The Capitals were treading water and there were concerns about Washington’s age and its over-reliance on Alexander Ovechkin.
Now, amid a second three-game winning streak in the past two weeks, Washington is clearly back on track and has another big test as the Capitals visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. It’s not a busy slate of games, but it does feature Washington, Carolina, the Boston Bruins, the Florida Panthers and the Colorado Avalanche so plenty of contenders are in action.
Check out our breakdowns of each of Friday’s games if you’re betting online:
Philadelphia Flyers vs Ottawa Senators
Two of the worst teams in the NHL play Friday with the Ottawa Senators having lost three straight (and eight of 10) and the Philadelphia Flyers coming off a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators. Both of these squads could be active sellers at the trade deadline with their seasons having gone way off the rails.
Ottawa is a slight home favorite here, which makes sense because the Flyers knocked off Nashville on Thursday and have the rest disadvantage. Martin Jones likely will start for Philadelphia, which gives the Senators an edge. Take the Senators to win straight-up.
Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes
This is the game of the night featuring two of the Metropolitan Division’s probable playoff teams. Washington has won six of its last seven games thanks in large part to an offense that has finally come alive. But, they have to visit the Carolina Hurricanes — with their 23-4-2 home record — in the second half of a back-to-back in which they might not have No. 1 goalie Vitek Vanecek.
Washington smoked the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2 on Thursday with Vanacek in net, so the Capitals might have to turn to Ilya Samsonov, who has lost his last three starts. Go with Carolina as solid home favorites on the NHL betting lines and maybe take the Hurricanes to win in regulation. They’re rested and, after two straight road losses, ready to bounce back.
Boston Bruins vs Winnipeg Jets
The Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets are each playing really good hockey right now, so this game could be a good contest. Boston lost to the Minnesota Wild earlier this week to snap a three-game winning streak, but the Bruins still have been clicking for the past month or so, especially when Jeremy Swayman is in goal.
Meanwhile, the Jets keep hanging around in the Western Conference wild card race and have won four of five. Connor Hellebuyck still hasn’t been as crisp as he usually is, yet Winnipeg’s top-heavy offense has been producing in droves.
Boston is slightly favored as the road team and the Bruins are the side to back. Boston will recover from the ugly Minnesota loss even without Patrice Bergeron (arm infection) in the lineup. Winnipeg’s defense just won’t be able to stop the Bruins’ top guns.
Buffalo Sabres vs Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames should roll in this game. A night after they got smacked 6-1 by the Edmonton Oilers to start a Western Canada trip, the Buffalo Sabres are back in action against Calgary, which has won each of Jacob Markstrom’s last four starts.
Buffalo has actually looked better over the past few weeks, but there’s a lot working against the Sabres on Friday. Dustin Tokarski will also likely have to start because Craig Anderson gave up all six goals against Edmonton. It’s not easy to beat the Flames in a perfect situation and even less so on no rest and with a backup goalie.
Expect Calgary to run over Buffalo as a huge home favorite and to cover the puckline. The over is a good move here as well.
Florida Panthers vs Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks are looking for some home cooking as they finally get back to California following a brutal 0-3-2 road trip. However, they have a tough opponent waiting for them in the Florida Panthers, who lost 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday and haven’t been as sharp in their last few games.
Anaheim has won just four games since the end of January and can’t seem to piece together a good offensive performance with a capable showing from a goaltender. It won’t be easy to outscore Florida, which is averaging over 1.2 goals more than the Ducks this season.
Florida is a big road favorite on the BetUS sportsbook even with Sergei Bobrovsky’s status unknown after Spencer Knight started the Panthers’ last three games. Bobrovsky should be able to go after missing the Vegas game due to an illness, but the Panthers are worth a shot on the puckline regardless of who’s in net.
Colorado Avalanche vs San Jose Sharks
After scuffling for a bit, the Colorado Avalanche seem to be right back on track after consecutive 3-0 wins over the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. Darcy Kuemper has a good chance to keep his groove going against a San Jose Sharks team that was shut out by the Kings on Thursday and scores a miniscule 2.57 goals per game.
The Sharks will have to turn to backup goalie Adin Hill to face Colorado, which certainly doesn’t make things any easier. That’s a reason why the Avalanche are such heavy road favorites, but since there isn’t much value with that pick, it might be smarter to parlay Colorado on the moneyline with the over.