NHL playoffs 2022: Panthers vs. Capitals Game 6 odds, prediction, picks
It’s win or go home for the Washington Capitals, who take on the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of their NHL playoffs series tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on TBS. You can make a pretty sound argument that the Panthers are lucky to still be playing hockey this season.
Panthers vs. Capitals Game 6 analysis
Down 2-1 in the series and trailing late in the third period of Game 4, the Panthers watched helplessly as a shot from Garnet Hathaway sailed towards their empty net. The puck would just miss. Florida would score moments later and then again in overtime to tie the series.
Two nights later, the Panthers were facing another uphill battle. Trailing 3-0 in the second period, Florida roared back thanks to a herculean effort from Carter Verhaeghe. By the end of the night, the Panthers had won, 5-3, and put together arguably their best game of the postseason – which is saying something since they trailed 3-0 at one point. Perhaps most importantly, Florida was finally able to get a game to open up. Wednesday’s Game 5 featured 71 total shots on goal, 27 high-danger scoring chances and a whopping 9.75 expected goals, easily the most in any contest so far in this series. That type of game environment significantly favors the Panthers, who led the NHL in creating high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5 during the regular season. Florida is arguably the league’s best transition team and that has finally begun to shine through.
The general consensus was that if the Caps could slow the game down and avoid trading scoring chances with the Panthers, they could compete in this series. Washington was able to do that through the first four games, but started to wobble in Game 5. Getting back to that style is paramount for the Caps, but that will be easier said than done given the situation they now find themselves in.Playing with their backs against the wall, the Capitals will need to thread the fine line of playing a desperate brand of hockey without losing the structure that earned them a 2-1 lead in this series. That situation becomes even more precarious should the Caps find themselves in an early deficit, as they’d be forced to open things up and play with more risk – something that definitely suits the Panthers in this matchup.The Capitals have been impressive in this series, but the Panthers are starting to trend well offensively and finally look like they’ve got their offensive form back. That should lead to a relatively wide-open game and puts some value backing the over at a plus-money seven.