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Capitals Maple Leafs Betting Tips – Capitals Look To Overcome Early Season Struggles At Toronto Thursday

Posted by Don Melrose on 1/29/2013 5:58:59 PM

The Washington Capitals have struggled out of the gate in this lockout-shortened season. Now head coach Adam Oates is turning back the clock, and hoping he can help his team push forward by taking a step back. That was the case with Alex Ovechkin back on the left wing in the Capitals’ first win of the season last week, after dropping four-straight to begin the year. Ovechkin was a force from the opening faceoff and managed to get on the board with his first goal of the sports betting season, something he and his team can build on heading in to Thursday night’s matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Thursday January 31, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada
NHL Sportsbook Line: Maple Leafs – 130

Toronto hasn’t been much better early on this year following up an opening night win over the Montreal Canadiens with just one victory in their next four games. The Maple Leafs certainly didn’t look very good at home either, dropping their first two games on home ice with James Reimer and Ben Scrivens sharing the starting job in goal.

NHL Betting Preview: Washington Capitals

In addition to moving Ovechkin back to the wing, Oates has also turned back the clock by looking to Michal Neuvirth between the pipes after it seemed as though last year’s breakout star Braden Holtby would own the starting job. Neuvirth hasn’t been that great in net either with a 2.92 goals against average through three starts, but that is better than the 5.03 mark that Holtby posted through two starts. While newcomer Mike Ribeiro has provided a spark out of the gate with a team-high six points playing on the second line and top powerplay unit, Washington needs its top line to get going with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom combining for just four points through their first five games.

NHL Betting Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs have problems up front after Joffrey Lupul was lost for a month with a broken arm, and Phil Kessel failing to score a goal through five games. Veteran Clarke MacArthur has skated on the top line next to Kessel and Tyler Bozak, while the second and third lines have stepped up in terms of scoring production. The lack of production from Toronto’s top line has stood out in big part because the young tandem of Reimer and Scrivens has struggled in goal early on, with a combined-goals against over three. Young center Nazem Kadri has been among the bright spots with a team-high three goals and five points, and will be among those called on to produce with the top line struggling.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

Neither team has put up excellent offensive numbers out of the gates, and with both teams battling for every point in a shortened season this should be a tight-checking game from the puck drop. The Maple Leafs have actually looked better on the road early on where they have registered both of their online betting wins, and they will be in tough facing a lot of pressure early against a Capitals’ team that could be on the brink of a major breakthrough as they attempt to turn the clock back.

NHL Betting Pick: Washington Capitals

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