Sunday features an Eastern Conference tilt, with the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Arena. In this contest, Toronto will look to avenge its previous December 17 loss to Washington.
Can the Maple Leafs take care of business on home ice, or can the Capitals secure another victory in this matchup? Find out in our free NHL picks and predictions for Capitals vs. Maple Leafs on January 29.
Capitals vs Maple Leafs best odds
Capitals vs Maple Leafs picks and predictions
The Washington Capitals have been involved in many low-scoring contests recently, as there have been six or fewer total goals scored in seven of their last 10 games. A big reason for this stretch of low-scoring games is the play of goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who is projected to start between the pipes once again on Sunday.
Through 33 starts in the crease this season, Kuemper boasts a .917 SV% and a 2.54 GAA. Based on his metrics, regression should not be too much of an issue as Kuemper ranks in the top half among starting goaltenders in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5.
This excellent play is likely to continue against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Over Kuemper's last six starts against the Leafs, he is 3-1 with a .928 SV% and 2.11 GAA. There were six or fewer total goals scored in five of those six outings.
In front of Kuemper, Washington possesses an extremely underrated blue line that ranks in the top half of the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at 5-on-5.
Meanwhile, at 5-on-5, the Caps rank in the bottom half of the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60). This team certainly feels the absence of John Carlson and Tom Wilson, who remain ruled out for this contest.
Another reason why Washington may struggle to score is that they will be going against former teammate Ilya Samsonov.
In his first year with Toronto, Samsonov has been brilliant between the pipes. Through 23 appearances in the crease, Samsonov is 16-5-2 with a .916 SV% and 2.37 GAA. While those surface-level stats are extremely strong, his underlying metrics are even better.
Among starting goaltenders, Samsonov ranks third in GSAx/60 at 5-on-5. With the extra motivation of going against his former team, look for a good performance from the Russian netminder.
My best bet: Under 6 (-104 at SIA)
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Capitals vs Maple Leafs moneyline analysis
I would lean toward the Leafs’ moneyline, considering that they rank higher than Washington at 5-on-5 in both xGF/60 and xGA/60. Additionally, Samsonov has been tremendous this season and has the added motivation of sticking it to his former team.
However, I don't believe the juice is worth the squeeze at –143.
Don't forget that Kuemper has also been a tremendous goaltender this season, and then there's also the fact that superstar forward Auston Matthews is out with a knee sprain. The reigning Hart Trophy winner is obviously an essential part of this team, and they felt his absence in their 6-2 loss to Ottawa.
Capitals vs Maple Leafs Over/Under analysis
Matthews’ injury is another reason to like the Under in this contest. While it did not hit against the Senators on Friday, the Leafs only scored two goals without him in the lineup.
At the same time, Samsonov had a rare bad outing, which is almost certainly due to the fact that he was not initially supposed to start but ultimately filled in when backup Matt Murray re-aggravated an injury during warmups. Look for Samsonov to get back on track in this one.
Capitals vs Maple Leafs betting trend to know
There have been six or fewer total goals scored in seven of Washington's last 10 games. Find more NHL betting trends for Capitals vs Maple Leafs.
Capitals vs Maple Leafs game info
|Location:||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON|
|Date:||Sunday, January 29, 2023|
|Puck drop:||5:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||NBC Sports Washington, TSN4|