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Vegas says Caps have best chance to win it all


Vegas says Caps have best chance to win it all

The Capitals have only played a quarter of their 82-game season but  the oddsmakers in Las Vegas already are giving them the best chance of winning the 2016 Stanley Cup.


In the span of one month – a month in which they went 9-3-1 – the Caps went from having 11/1 odds to having 13/2 odds to bring their first-ever championship to D.C. By the way, the Caps are also being picked to win the Eastern Conference.
As for individual awards, Alex Ovechkin has 12/1 odds of winning the Hart Trophy as MVP and John Carlson has a 15/1 shot of winning the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

Take a look at the latest odds from Bovada:

Odds to win 2016 Stanley Cup
Washington Capitals                       13/2
Dallas Stars                                      7/1
New York Rangers                          15/2
Chicago Blackhawks                        9/1
Montreal Canadiens                        12/1
Anaheim Ducks                                14/1
Los Angeles Kings                           14/1
St. Louis Blues                                 14/1
Tampa Bay Lightning                        16/1
Minnesota Wild                                  20/1
Pittsburgh Penguins                           20/1
San Jose Sharks                                20/1
Nashville Predators                            25/1
New York Islanders                            25/1
Boston Bruins                                     28/1
Detroit Red Wings                              28/1
Ottawa Senators                                 28/1
Arizona Coyotes                                  40/1
Columbus Blue Jackets                       40/1
Vancouver Canucks                             50/1
Winnipeg Jets                                      50/1
Florida Panthers                                   66/1
Calgary Flames                                   75/1
Colorado Avalanche                           100/1
New Jersey Devils                              100/1
Philadelphia Flyers                              100/1
Buffalo Sabres                                     150/1
Carolina Hurricanes                             200/1
Edmonton Oilers                                  200/1
Toronto Maple Leafs                            200/1

Odds to win the 2016 Eastern Conference
Washington Capitals                  13/4
New York Rangers                     4/1
Montreal Canadiens                   6/1
Tampa Bay Lightning                 8/1
Pittsburgh Penguins                   9/1
Detroit Red Wings                     12/1
New York Islanders                    12/1
Boston Bruins                            14/1
Ottawa Senators                        14/1
Columbus Blue Jackets             18/1
Florida Panthers                        33/1                             
New Jersey Devils                     50/1
Philadelphia Flyers                    50/1
Buffalo Sabres                           75/1                             
Carolina Hurricanes                   100/1
Toronto Maple Leafs                  100/1               

Odds to win the 2016 Western Conference
Dallas Stars                              13/4
Chicago Blackhawks                19/4                             
Anaheim Ducks                        13/2
Los Angeles Kings                   13/2                             
St. Louis Blues                          7/1                               
San Jose Sharks                       9/1
Minnesota Wild                         10/1                             
Nashville Predators                   11/1                             
Arizona Coyotes                        22/1
Vancouver Canucks                   25/1
Winnipeg Jets                            25/1                             
Calgary Flames                         40/1                             
Edmonton Oilers                        75/1                             
Colorado Avalanche                  100/1                           

Odds to Win the 2016 Atlantic Division
Montreal Canadiens                   2/5
Tampa Bay Lightning                 5/1
Ottawa Senators                        15/2
Boston Bruins                            12/1
Detroit Red Wings                     12/1
Florida Panthers                        20/1
Buffalo Sabres                          100/1
Toronto Maple Leafs                 100/1
Odds to win the 2016 Metropolitan Division
New York Rangers                     3/2
Washington Capitals                  3/2
Pittsburgh Penguins                  5/1
New York Islanders                    6/1                   
New Jersey Devils                     33/1
Columbus Blue Jackets             40/1
Philadelphia Flyers                    50/1
Carolina Hurricanes                  100/1
Odds to win the 2016 Pacific Division
Los Angeles Kings                    7/4
Anaheim Ducks                         2/1
San Jose Sharks                       7/2
Arizona Coyotes                        6/1
Vancouver Canucks                   9/1
Calgary Flames                         50/1                 
Edmonton Oilers                       75/1
Odds to win the 2016 Central Division
Dallas Stars                              3/2
St. Louis Blues                          2/1
Chicago Blackhawks                 9/2
Minnesota Wild                         7/1
Nashville Predators                   7/1                   
Winnipeg Jets                           25/1
Colorado Avalanche                  200/1

Odds to win the 2016 Hart Trophy (MVP)
Patrick Kane (CHI)                                2/1
Jamie Benn (DAL)                                 5/1
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)                         6/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                                5/1
Sidney Crosby  (PIT)                             12/1
Alexander Ovechkin (WAS)                    12/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)                       12/1
John Tavares (NYI)                                12/1
Carey Price (MON)                                 16/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                             16/1
Max Pacioretty (MON)                           20/1
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA)                               25/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                               28/1
Johnny Gaudreau (CAL)                         35/1
Erik Karlsson (OTT)                                40/1

Odds to Win the 2015 Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
Artemi Panarin (CHI)                              3/2
Max Domi (ARI)                                     5/2
Dylan Larkin (DET)                                9/2
Connor McDavid (EDM)                        13/2
Jack Eichel (BUF)                                  9/1
Mike Condon (MON)                              10/1
Colton Parayko (STL)                            15/1
Sam Bennett (CAL)                                18/1
Oscar Lindberg (NYR)                            25/1
Sam Reinhart (BUF)                               30/1
Nikolaj Ehlers (WPG)                              35/1

Odds to win the 2016 Norris Trophy (top defenseman)
John Klingberg (DAL)                            11/4
Erik Karlsson (OTT)                               3/1
PK Subban (MON)                                 9/2
Victor Hedman (TB)                               9/1
Ryan Suter (MIN)                                   10/1
Brent Burns (SJ)                                    12/1
Drew Doughty (LA)                                12/1
Kris Letang (PIT)                                    12/1
Shea Weber (NASH)                              14/1
John Carlson (WAS)                               15/1
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI)                   16/1
Justin Faulk (CAR)                                  20/1
Roman Josi (NAS)                                  20/1

MORE CAPITALS: Wilson escorts elephant out of locker room

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.


Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.


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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.