NHL playoffs 2018: Predictions, odds for Capitals vs. Blue Jackets first-round series

Alex Ovechkin, Artemi Panarin (Getty Pictures)

The Capitals wrapped up a 3rd consecutive Metropolitan Division title, however by some means really feel freed from the Stanley Cup expectation burden that so typically derailed their greatest possibilities in years prior. Perhaps it is as a result of the Presidents’ Trophy lastly belongs to another person.

Alex Ovechkin and Co. are within the playoffs for a tenth time in eleven seasons. The Blue Jackets, in the meantime, are in quest of their first series win in franchise historical past.

Sporting Information’ NHL specialists Brandon Schlager, Evan Sporer and Jim Cerny make their series predictions under.

Washington Capitals (-one hundred seventy five) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (+one hundred forty five): Schedule, picks, predictions

Recreation 1: April 12 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Recreation 2: April 15 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Recreation three: April 17 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Recreation four: April 19 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
*Recreation 5: April 21 at Washington, TBD
*Recreation 6: April 23 at Columbus, TBD
*Recreation 7: April 25 at Washington, TBD

(All occasions Japanese; * If essential)

Common season conferences: WSH, four-three (12/2); WSH, three-2 (2/6); WSH, four-2 (2/9); CBJ, 5-1 (2/26)

Brandon Schlager: For my cash, that is probably the most troublesome series to foretell, the most important toss-up. On one hand, you need to consider within the Blue Jackets, one of many NHL’s strongest second-half groups. They’re younger, deep and eventually get an opportunity to show themselves away from a Penguins demise lure within the first spherical. Sergei Bobrovsky cannot actually be this dangerous within the playoffs, can he? On the opposite, this may be the final probability for the Capitals. A extremely motivated Ovechkin is not somebody to guess towards, and he is performed this season — the most effective in his profession, factoring in age and that the roster round him is not fairly nearly as good — like a person on a Stanley Cup mission. Each groups have lots to show. In the long run, I feel the captain takes over and ideas the series within the Capitals’ favor.

Capitals in 6 video games

Evan Sporer: Whereas there are many questions centered on the Capitals’ crease, it is going to be very fascinating to see which Bobrovsky exhibits up. Within the previous two postseasons for the Blue Jackets, he is stopped a mixed 348 of 388 photographs, or an .897 save proportion. Very excited to observe the Ovechkin line towards Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. Getting Nick Foligno again shall be massive for the Blue Jackets, however nonetheless don’t assume they’ve sufficient depth or firepower up entrance to maintain up with the Caps in what ought to be a really tight series. 

Capitals in 7 video games

Jim Cerny: Two groups with poor submit-season monitor data. The Caps cannot get previous the second spherical within the Alex Ovechkin period, and the Blue Jackets have by no means gained a postseason series, not even after their 108-level season a yr in the past. Nevertheless it’s a brand new spring, and considered one of these groups should advance. Washington wants to determine its goaltending. Braden Holtby is not the slam dunk No. 1 after backsliding through the common season, however he’s rather more skilled than Phillipp Grubauer. Columbus has Sergei Bobrovsky who traditionally morphs from Vezina winner within the common season to one thing a lot much less within the playoffs. A key intangible is that outdoors expectations are a lot decrease this spring on the Caps, they usually may be higher flying underneath the radar. Plus this is perhaps the core’s final actual whack on the Stanley Cup.

Capitals in 7 video games