Capitals vs Bruins Picks and Predictions: Boston Bounces Back From Tuesday's Flop

Despite getting humbled in their last game, the Bruins have been an offensive juggernaut lately. Our NHL betting picks don't see the Capitals — with shaky goaltending and a depleted blueline — able to contain the Bs... or even keep up.

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2022 12:03 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak Boston Bruins NHL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins had their five-game win streak snapped (in ugly, ugly fashion) on Tuesday, and they'll look to rebound tonight against a Washington Capitals side that has been struggling in 2022.

The Caps have lost five of seven games in the new year and find themselves as massive NHL betting road underdogs at TD Garden against a Boston team that has still won eight of its last 10 games.

Here are our best free NHL picks and predictions for Capitals vs. Bruins on Thursday, January 20. 

Capitals vs Bruins odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The line opened at Boston -145/Washington +130, but at the time of writing has slid all the way to see the Bruins in the -175 range and the Capitals available anywhere from +140 to +155. This is a stark contrast to 10 days ago when Boston closed as a +102 road underdog at Washington. The total opened at 6 but has dropped to 5.5, heavily juiced to the Over.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until puck drop and be sure to check out the full NHL odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Capitals vs Bruins predictions

Predictions made on 1/20/2022 at 11:46 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Capitals vs Bruins game info

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Thursday, January 20, 2022
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: HULU, TVAS

Capitals vs Bruins betting preview

Injuries

Capitals: T.J. Oshie RW (GTD), John Carlson D (Out), Dmitry Orlov D (Out), Conor Sheary LW (Out), Anthony Mantha RW (Out).
Bruins: Nick Foligno LW (GTD), Mike Reilly D (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Capitals vs Bruins head-to-head record (2019-present)

Capitals: 2-2-0, 12 goals for.
Bruins: 2-1-1, 18 goals for.

Betting trend to know

The Capitals have lost five straight head-to-head meetings against the Bruins. Find more NHL betting trends for Capitals vs. Bruins.

Capitals vs Bruins picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Bruins were the hottest team in hockey, winning eight of nine games, and then they got absolutely punked by the Hurricanes on Tuesday, giving up five goals in the first period in a 7-1 home loss.

While it's not fun to wash out the taste of a game that poor, for Boston it was moreso "just one of those games" that can be easily brushed aside as this club has been playing exceptional hockey since the calendar flipped to January 1.

At 5 on 5 in 2022, the Bruins are sixth in the NHL in Corsi For Percentage (55.13%) per Natural Stat Trick, third in goals for per 60 minutes (3.72), sixth in expected goals for per 60 minutes (3.00), and getting nearly 60% of all high-danger scoring chances (also fourth). At the same time, both the power play and penalty kill are clicking at Top-10 rates — this team is firing on all cylinders.

The Capitals, on the other hand, have not had a happy new year. Washington started 2022 off with four straight losses and while it has won two of its last three games, the offense has been struggling lately, the goaltending has been just average, and the defensive corps is quite thin.

During this seven-game funk, the Caps have the seventh-worst 5-on-5 PDO (shooting percentage + save percentage) in the league, with most of the problem coming from the team shooting just 6.08% at 5 on 5 — third-worst in the NHL.

With the offense and goaltending not doing the team any favors, the defense has had to pick up the slack — but superstar defenseman John Carlson will miss his third straight game tonight while in health and safety protocols, while Dmitry Orlov — also in the Caps Top 4 on the blueline — is serving the first leg of a two-game suspension.

That's going to create some serious matchups in trying to defend Boston's revamped top six, where both lines have an average CF% around 60% over their last five games.

Washington's special teams haven't been much help either, with the penalty kill currently ranked 25th since January 1 and the power play — that still features Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nick Backstrom, and Tom Wilson — sitting just 19th at 17.7%.

About 10 days ago, the Bruins went into Washington and dropped a touchdown on the Caps (with Carlson and Orlov) in a 7-3 win. Now the Bruins are at home and playing much better at 5 on 5, have an advantage in both sides of the special teams battle, and will be pretty amped to put forth a strong effort after Tuesday's stinker.

We love the Bruins to roll tonight but we're not going to pay -175 for the moneyline — instead let's bet on Boston to handle its business in regulation and drop that price to nearly even money.

Prediction: Bruins 3-way ML (-105)

Yes, the Bruins are an absolute wagon right now offensively... but they're still surrendering a decent amount of even-strength goals during this hot stretch.

Boston is giving up 2.83 goals per 60 minutes of 5 on 5 action in the new year, which sits in the bottom half of the league... but it has the fourth-lowest expected goals against per 60 minutes (2.1). That's among the five worst expected to actual goals against rates (-0.72) in the league during this span... and we're looking at you, Bruins goaltenders.

The B's netminders are sporting an 89.27 save percentage at 5 on 5, and a high-danger save percentage of 77.78%, since January 1 (both 26th in the league). Boston isn't giving up many high-danger chances but the ones they do allow, its goalies aren't stopping as many as they should — with tonight's starter, Linus Ullmark, posting a -1.25 goals saved above expected during this span.

The Capitals goaltending is, well, a mess, as Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov have a combined negative goals save above average during the team's seven-game swoon, and the duo has collectively posted sub-.910 save percentages in nine of their last 11 outings.

Both teams have struggling goaltenders, a thin Capitals defense will not match up well against Boston (as mentioned above), and we might see the Capitals open things up to try and compete with the Bs.

Boston has cashed the Over in seven of its last 10, the Caps have seen at least six total goals scored in five of their last seven, and the previous meeting went for 10 total goals.

We're going Over tonight.

Prediction: Over 5.5 (-120)

Both of these teams love getting the action going early as of late. 

The Bruins lead the NHL with 15 first-period goals in 10 games in 2022, while Washington has seven goals in seven games. Boston also leads the league with 12 first-period goals against during that frame, while the Caps have an even seven against as well.

It's not all attributed to one outlier either: Boston has at least one opening-period tally in nine of those 10 games and conceded at least one goal in six of them, while the Caps have scored in six of seven first periods — and conceded a goal in four of them.

Long story short: both teams like to come out of the gates guns blazing, and with lots of offense expected tonight... we're banking on both teams hitting the scoresheet in the opening 20 minutes. 

Pick: Both teams to score in the first period (+165)

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