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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals - 10/1/13

Washington Capitals (27-18-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5)

NHL Hockey: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm (United Center)

The Line: Chicago Blackhawks / Washington Capitals --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: NBC

The Chicago Blackhawks begin their Stanley Cup title defense on home ice as they host the Washington Capitals at the United Centre on Tuesday night.

The Washington Capitals have been in the mix in the Eastern Conference since Alex Ovechkin entered the NHL but the last few seasons have been a bit uncharacteristic of the Caps and the continuous search for an identity plagues any progression they may have established over the last couple years. This year, however the Caps appear as though they’re going back to their run and gun style of offense that allows Ovechkin and co to let loose and enable their creativity to dictate the pace of the game. Washington fell to the New York Rangers in the first round of last year’s postseason but will be out for revenge as they kick things off on the road in Chicago to take on arguably the deepest teams in the league and the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Caps still have a ton of firepower up front as they brought in Martin Erat and Mikhail Grabovski to play alongside Ovechkin, and Nicklas Backstrom plus a blue line that will have ample opportunity to chip in as Karl Alzner, John Carlson, and Mike Green make up one of the most lethal scoring blue lines in the game. If the Capitals can get off to a quick start and Ovechkin doesn’t disappear in the early going like he did last year the Caps will be tough to beat and they’re worth a look in this spot here.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals - 10/1/13

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

The Blackhawks ended their 2013 season in style as they cruised through the NHL’s shortened regular season, had no problems throughout the Western Conference playoffs, and used a resilient effort on the road in Boston to upend the Bruins and hoist their second Stanley Cup in four years. The Hawks return a number of key pieces to the fold as the likes of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp all return up front and Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are back to anchor the blueline. Corey Crawford emerged as a number on goaltender last season and his playoff efforts warrant him a starting job this season and what a way to kick off the regular season than against last year’s Rocket Richard and Hart Trophy winner in Ovechkin. However, this is a tough circumstance as the Hawks will be going through the process of raising the banner and celebrating last year’s success and as they experienced last year on the other side in LA, that type of atmosphere and layover at the beginning of the game usually favours the road team. With the Caps having a dynamic, physical offense I think they shock a lot of people here and for the value they’re getting I love this spot for Washington.  

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Washington Capitals +144

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