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Maple Leafs, Capitals Clash In Battle Of Hottest Teams In The East

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/15/2013 7:22:28 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been one of the NHL’s hottest teams over the past three weeks. The Washington Capitals have been even better. The stage is set for what should be an exciting online betting showdown as the Maple Leafs visit Washington this Tuesday night, in a game that should mean a little more for the home side. The Capitals have climbed all the way from the bottom of the conference to first place in the Southeast division, and will try and extend their lead over the Winnipeg Jets to six points with a win. Washington has posted an 8-1-1 record over its past 10 games, and will look to atone after dropping its first two games versus Toronto earlier in the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Washington Capitals
Tuesday April 16, 2013 –7:00 PM ET
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
NHL Sportsbook Line: Washington – 150

The Maple Leafs are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, but it’s unlikely they will climb any higher than fifth in the Eastern Conference standings so right now the goal is holding down that spot and getting healthy. Toronto hasn’t played playoff hockey since before the previous NHL lockout, so getting in to the postseason will be an accomplishment on its own.

NHL Betting Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

Part of the Maple Leafs’ turnaround this year has been that they are a much better team away from home, where they are five games above .500 entering this week. A much stronger defensive core and more consistent goaltending have been the two keys, not to mention that this Toronto team ranks third in the NHL in scoring. Young star Nazem Kadri has finally lived up to his potential with a team-leading 17 goals, and Phil Kessel is also having a strong season despite not scoring as often, as he has 42 points. The Maple Leafs need goaltender James Reimer to be at his best come playoff time, and right now he is playing some excellent hockey.

NHL Betting Preview: Washington Capitals

The Capitals have liked what they have seen from their own goalies this season, particularly Braden Holtby who has secured the starting job. Holtby’s 2.72 goals against average isn’t among the league leaders, but he has kept the team in a lot of games and will improve as the defensive play in front of him does as well. The biggest difference from the beginning of the year has been the offense, as the Capitals rank sixth in NHL scoring thanks in big part to the league’s top-ranked power play. Washington can score in bunches, and it is no surprise that Alex Ovechkin has enjoyed a resurgence with 27 goals and 46 points this sports betting season.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

Toronto is coming off an emotional win over the rival Montreal Canadiens and already took two meetings from the Capitals earlier in the year, so look for Washington to stay hot and get its first W in the season series. With Ovechkin on fire, the Capitals could be a tough opponent come playoff time, but first it is about getting in by locking up the top seed in the Southeast division.

NHL Betting Pick: Washington Capitals

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