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Buffalo vs. Washington,
11/01/2019 19:00 EDT,
Score: 1 - 6
Money Line: -180 Washington
7* Washington (7:05 ET): The ML for this matchup of division leaders should tell you a lot. Normally, when you envision two division leaders meeting, the thought is of a hard-fought battle between two evenly matched teams. Not here though. It's still early in the NHL season mind you, which means "division leader" doesn't necessarily hold as much water as it would ... say in January or February. Buffalo is 9-2-2 right now, but you have to wonder if they are capable of maintaining that kind of pace. This is a team that finished w/ only 76 points last season. Washington, on the other hand, is a proven commodity, and the right side here.
We've already seen the Sabres start to regress a bit as they've dropped two of their last three games. They haven't exactly faced a "murderer's row" of opponents either: the Rangers, Red Wings and Coyotes. The first two are right near the bottom of the league in points. Buffalo was held to two goals in each of those three games as its early season scoring blitz seems to have subsided. Perhaps playing 13 games in 26 days has started to take its toll? Monday (vs. Arizona) was the first home loss of the season. They have lost 11 of the last 14 times they've faced the Caps, including an 0-5-2 mark here in D.C.
Conversely, the Capitals started slow, but now look like the best team in the league. They've won 7 of 8 w/ the only loss coming in Edmonton, a game in which the Caps held a 3-1 third period lead. They've scored 4+ goals in the L7 wins, putting them on top of the league in scoring (3.9 goals per game). Defenseman John Carlson had himself a record-setting October w/ 23 points. But perhaps the most impressive thing of all is that most of the Caps' games so far have been on the road where they are now 7-1-1. This will be just their sixth game at home and they welcome back Braden Holtby between the pipes. Holtby sat out Tuesday's 4-3 OT win in Toronto. He is 4-0-1 his L5 appearances. 7* Washington