Tuesday's NHL Action: Capitals and Blackhawks on the Brink of Elimination

Hockey Aug 18, 2020

Question:  Do either of these teams have a chance to get back into the series with a win tonight?

Today on Tuesday, both the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks will try to avoid being the first teams eliminated from the 2020 NHL playoffs round-of-16.

The Capitals have fallen behind 3-0 while the Blackhawks already avoided elimination once, winning Game 4 on Sunday.  Do either of these teams have a chance to get back into the series with a win tonight?  

Let's take a look:

Washington Capitals (-105) @ New York Islanders (-115)

Despite the tough start, oddsmakers still like Washington's chances of winning Game 4 at -105.  The Capitals were not a good 5v5 team during the regular season and that hasn't changed in this series.  The Islanders have carried the play at even-strength, outshooting the Capitals 74-to-51 (59.2 SF%) and out chancing them 69-to-49 (58.5% SCF%).

How the Capitals try and get even is on the power-play.  They put Alex Ovechkin in his office and let him go to work.  They've done a nice job on special teams, going 3-for-11 (27.3 PP%) while killing 13 of 14 penalties (92.9 PK%).

So how are they down 3-0?  Goaltending.  Braden Holtby hasn't been able to come up with that timely save.  He has given up 10 goals on 92 shots (.891 SV%) while Semyon Varlamov is 69-for-74 (.932 SV%).  At even-strength, it's even worse. Holtby carries a .892 EVSV% while Varlamov is at .963.

Nicklas Backstrom's status for Game 4 remains up in the air.  His absence has hurt the Capitals, but it was something they were able to overcome in late-November/early-December.  Backstrom missed eight games and the Capitals went 6-1-1, including a six-game winning streak.

If Backstrom returns, it will be a huge boost and lengthens their lineup by moving Lars Eller to the third line.  However, if Holtby doesn't play better they may not live to see another day in the bubble.

Chicago Blackhawks (+170) @ Vegas Golden Knights (-205)

While the Capitals have a chance to win Game 4 and potentially claw their way back into the series, the Blackhawks basically have one foot out the bubble door. Vegas crushed Chicago in Game 4, outshooting them 49-to-22 but Corey Crawford turned in a vintage performance, making 48 saves en route to a 3-1 win.

For the series, the Golden Knights are outshooting the Blackhawks 37.0 to 24.3 per game.  Having Crawford stand on his head is not a sustainable way to win games.

One thing Chicago is doing well is staying disciplined.  They've taken the least penalties in the first round and have not given up a power-play goal in nine shorthanded opportunities.  Their power-play has been just as bad though, going 1-for-11, so it hasn't made much of a difference.

This was a lopsided matchup on paper coming in and nothing has changed through four games.  Vegas should turn in another dominating performance but come away on the winning side this time around.

Here's the latest odds of all four NHL games today, at SPREADS.CA


Headline Photo Credit:  CBC.ca

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Special correspondent and contributor and guest sports handicapper provides the latest news and information you can use to make your daily picks.