Blue Jackets at Capitals 2018 NHL Playoffs Lines & Game 3 Pick

Posted by Jordan Walters on Tuesday,April 17, 2018 8:47, EDT in

The Washington Capitals have been playoff underachievers since superstar Alex Ovechkin arrived on the scene. He has never reached the conference finals, and it sure doesn’t look like now he will with his team down 2-0 as it heads to Columbus on Tuesday night in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Capitals are underdogs in the NHL Playoffs lines for Game 3.

Blue Jackets at Capitals 2018 NHL Playoffs Lines & Game 3 Pick

When: Tuesday, 7:30 PM ET
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 97.1 FM (Columbus) / 106.7 FM (Washington)
Opening NHL Playoffs Lines: Jackets -140, Capitals +120 (5.5)

Why Bet on Washington’s NHL Playoffs Lines?

If you score four goals in a playoff game, you usually win – at least these days. If you lead by two goals in a playoff game you almost always win. Yet the Washington Capitals head to Columbus 2-0 despite totaling nine goals at home and leading by two in each.

The Caps led 3-1 in the second period on Sunday but lost in overtime again – this time 5-4. Ovechkin scored twice in the loss. Ovechkin had 10 shots on goal in just over 30 minutes of ice time. He scored both on the power play and Washington had three power play goals. Nicklas Backstrom assisted on two goals. It was the second straight two assist night for Backstrom in the playoffs, giving him four points in two contests. Backstrom had a so-so regular season for himself with 71 points in 81 games as he had a huge slump for a lot of the season.

Philipp Grubauer allowed four goals on 22 shots in two periods of work. Grubauer was replaced by Braden Holtby to start the third period. The 26-year-old Grubauer has an .837 save percentage and 4.57 goals against average through two games in the post-season. He received a no-decision, since Washington was able to tie the game in the third period before falling in overtime. Holtby stopped the first seven shots he faced but allowed the game winner in overtime on the eighth shot that traveled his way. My guess is that Holtby starts Game 3.

Winger Andre Burakovsky (upper body) won’t travel with the team to Columbus. Burakovsky is expected to miss at least the next two games after he suffered an upper-body injury on Sunday. Burakovsky, 23, played left wing on a line with Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. He had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 55 games during the regular season. Against the Blue Jackets, he has no points and three shots on goal. Burakovsky skated 2:12 in Game 2 before departing.

Jakub Vrana will take Burakovsky’s spot in the lineup. Vrana was a healthy scratch in Game 2, but he had an assist on Devante Smith-Pelly’s go-ahead goal in the third period of Game 1 on Thursday. Vrana also had two turnovers in the first period of that game and skated just 6:58.

Why Bet on Columbus’ NHL Playoffs Lines?

Are the Blue Jackets a safe bet vs. the Capitals in Game 3?

The Blue Jackets could just as easily be down 2-0, but you have to admire their ability to rally – they never even lead a playoff series previously. In Sunday’s win, Matt Calvert scored a one-handed goal during the first overtime. Calvert tipped in a goal from the edge of the crease 12:22 into overtime to seal the victory. It was his seventh career playoff point.

Cam Atkinson scored a pair of Game 2 goals. The 28-year-old was a force all game long, and now has two goals and three points in the first two games of the series. He has nine points in 13 career playoff games. Zach Werenski had a goal and two assists. He set up Calvert for the winner. Werenski suffered through a major slump this season as he went 25 games without finding the back of the net but he has been much better in the postseason. Artemi Panarin had a pair of assists and has five points in the series.

Sergei Bobrovsky was magnificent in Game 2, making 54 saves on 58 shots Bobrovsky faced 21 shots in the third period and shut the door until allowing a late equalizer to force overtime. The desperate Capitals were continually stymied by Bobrovsky, who has stopped 81 of 88 shots through the first two games.

Another star thus far has been rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois. Although Dubois is 19, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has not hesitated to match him against an opponent’s top line. Against the Capitals, Dubois, a 6-foot-3, 207-pound native of Quebec has mostly been matched against either Nicklas Backstrom or Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The Capitals have scored two even-strength goals so far in the series and neither came from their top two lines. The Blue Jackets have scored five goals at 5-on-5, including Panarin’s overtime goal in a 4-3 win in Game 1, when Dubois earned an assist.

Latest NHL Betting Trends


  • Washington is 12-5 SU in its last 17 games
  • Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Washington’s last 5 games
  • Columbus is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
  • Columbus is 15-4 SU in its last 19 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Columbus’s last 5 games


Expert NHL Betting Prediction

The Capitals are too good to be swept – which they likely will be with a loss here. Take Washington.