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Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets January 5 Betting Preview
The Washington Capitals (21-13-6) visit the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets (11-23-2) on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena. Columbus is coming off of a 4-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night and will likely go into full-blown tank mode in hopes of landing generational talent Connor Bedard in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Washington, meanwhile, is one of the hottest teams in the league, with a 7-1-2 record in its last 10 games.
Offseason acquisition Darcy Kuemper is expected to start in goal for the Capitals. He's 10-9-4 with a 2.58 goals-against average (GAA) and .916 save percentage this season. Joonas Korpisalo is likely to start for the Blue Jackets. The 28-year-old Finnish netminder is 5-7-1 with a 3.13 GAA and .911 save percentage.
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Washington Capitals Betting Preview
Although they lost 5-4 in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, the Capitals remain one of the hottest teams in the NHL due in large part to the play of Alex Ovechkin. "The Great 8" is now second all-time in goals and enters Thursday's game with 808 goals in 1,314 career games.
He has 28 goals this season and is on pace for his best goal-scoring season since he scored 48 in just 68 games in 2019-20. The 37-year-old sniper is just 87 goals away from surpassing Wayne Gretzky as the league's all-time leading goalscorer.
Ovechkin isn't just floating around on the ice chasing history. He's been a major factor in the Capitals' recent run, scoring eight goals in his last five games. On New Year's Eve against the Montreal Canadiens, he scored his second hat trick in nine games.
Ovechkin leads Washington in scoring with 47 points, while Evgeny Kuznetsov is second with 34 points. Only two other players in Dylan Strome and Conor Sheary have more than 25 points.
However, Washington is without key forwards Carl Hagelin, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, and Connor Brown. Hagelin, Backstrom, and Wilson are all skating, while Brown is out for the season.
Columbus Blue Jackets Betting Preview
What's left to say about the Blue Jackets? They've been a disaster all season and are well out of the playoff picture. The team is 2-8 in its last 10 games and is coming off of a shutout loss to the resurgent Senators. Injuries have been an issue, but the bigger problem has been offense and goaltending.
Columbus has scored just 14 goals in its last nine games, so it's no surprise the team ranks 29th in goals per game at 2.61. Johnny Gaudreau leads the team in scoring with 37 points, but hasn't received much complimentary support. Boone Jenner is second in scoring with just 22 points. Patrik Laine has played just 21 games and has 16 points.
Korpisalo has been solid when healthy, but Elvis Merzlikins and Daniil Tarasov have combined to go 6-16-1. Merzlikins has a 4.68 GAA, and .864 save percentage.
Betting Odds and Prediction
The Capitals are the moneyline favorites at (-193), while the Blue Jackets are paying out (+155). Columbus is much better at home than on the road, where it's 2-12-1, but it's going to be tough for the league's worst defense to stop Ovechkin as he marches toward history. Columbus is due for a win, but it won't come Thursday night. Take the Capitals on the moneyline.
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