Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Capitals vs. Panthers Game 5 prediction, picks

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After alternating wins through the first four games of their best-of-7 series, the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers will play a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm ET.

Florida is a considerable -220 favorite to take a 3-2 series lead, but it is important to note the context in those odds. Namely, the Panthers closed at -245 for Game 1 and -265 for Game 2, meaning the market has adjusted to how well Washington has performed through the first four games.

Capitals vs. Panthers Game 5 Odds

Odds provided by PointsBet

Spread: WAS +1.5 (-131) vs. FLA -1.5 (+110)

Moneyline: WAS (+190) vs. FLA (-236)

Total: Over 6.5 (-129) | Under 6.5 (+105)

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Capitals vs. Panthers Game 5 predictions

Coming into the postseason, the general consensus was that the Capitals would need to execute a near-perfect defensive gameplan to slow down the Presidents ’Trophy winners and so far, it’s worked out. Florida set a record for most goals scored in the Salary Cap Era in the regular season, but the Cats have scored just 11 times through the first four games against Washington.

An offense that relies on a dynamic transition game and team speed, the Panthers have struggled mightily to get through the neutral zone against the Caps. Slowing Florida down means the Panthers are generating fewer quality scoring chances on odd-man rushes and have to instead rely on their forecheck and cycle to grind down the defense. While the Panthers can play that style to some success, it’s not their preferred method and takes away their biggest strength.

All season long the Panthers were the NHL’s best team at generating high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5, averaging 11.4 per game. The Capitals have limited Florida to just 35 for the entire series, an average of 8.75.

Florida Panthers v Washington Capitals - Game 5
Washington Capitals

Another notable development in this contest is the goaltending battle. Both teams had plenty of skeptics when it came to their netminders, but it seems that both Sergei Bobrovsky and Ilya Samsonov are in form. Samsonov, who didn’t start Games 1 and 2, has been particularly sharp with a .949 save percentage and a +3.4 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) in his three appearances.

With strong goaltending and a defense that is making life miserable on the run-and-gun Panthers, the Capitals have done a terrific job turning these games into coin flips. And that’s all you’re asking when you’re betting on an underdog.

It’s a bet you lose more often than you win, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong bet. The Capitals have given bettors no reason to jump off the bandwagon yet, so there’s still value on the underdogs in Game 5.

NHL best bet for Wednesday: Capitals +180 or better (+185 on BetMGM)

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