Ducks, Caps to stress D in marquee matchup?

Ducks, Caps to stress D in marquee matchup?

With the chase for hockey’s sacred silver chalice only weeks away, tonight’s Capitals-Ducks battle promises to function as one doozy of an appetizer.

Online sports book BetDSI likes host Anaheim to extend its franchise-record winning streak to 12 when NHL-best Washington rolls into the Honda Center at 10 p.m. EST. The Ducks are netting odds of -135 to prevail, whereas the Caps have a money line of +115 to knock off the league’s current darlings.

If any lamp-lighters can solve Anaheim’s impenetrable-of-late defense, it’s Alex Ovechkin and his band of merry men. Ovi will pursue his seventh multi-goal game of the season after (momentarily) escaping suspension for Saturday’s ferocious hit on Boston’s Kevan Miller.

No new injuries for either club

Nonetheless, he’ll be greatly tested by the opposing netminder. Frederik Andersen is 12-0-2 with a 1.76 goals-against average in his last 14 starts. The 26-year-old Denmark native has, for all intents and purposes, put first-half sensation John Gibson squarely in the rear-view mirror.

Conversely, Washington’s No. 1 goalie aspires to simply revert to basics. Braden Holtby’s post-All-Star-break GAA sits at 2.74 – a stark contrast from the luminous figure of 2.03 that he carried into that 3-on-3 tournament on Jan. 31.

Sterling offensive attacks aside, neither netminder should blink often in this one. Expect a conservative, gritty bout that screams Stanley Cup finals preview.

MONDAY NHL FREE PICK: CAPITALS/DUCKS UNDER 5

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