NHL Betting Preview (March 28): Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

The Toronto Maple Leafs have an interesting final few weeks of the schedule, seemingly cramming several repeating games into the final 15 or 20 games of the season, seeing teams within days of their last matchups. Is it the luck of the schedule draw, or is it playoff prep? Whatever it is, it’s repeating itself on Thursday, as the Maple Leafs face the Washington Capitals for the second time in eight days, hoping for a similar result to their four-goal victory on March 20th. Let’s look at what’s at stake Thursday night.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Capitals

TOR -180
WSH +150

The Maple Leafs are fairly serious home favourites, coming in at -180 on the moneyline at bet365, a gap which has slightly tightened overnight.

Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Betting Odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-180
Capitals Moneyline Odds+150
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+135), Capitals +1.5 (-160)
Total6.5 goals (over -105, under -115)
Time/DateMarch 28, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet 1
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

Betting the Maple Leafs (40-22-9 SU, 27-44 ATS, 39-30-2 o/u)

Sloppiness in execution was the overarching theme in Toronto’s last game on Tuesday, as they hosted the New Jersey Devils and squandered a great opportunity. Despite going up 1-0 a minute into the action and peppering New Jersey for 25 shots on goal in the first period, they found themselves trailing after 20, conceding tallies to Luke Hughes and Nico Hischier. A pair from William Nylander and Auston Matthews put them back up early in the second, but they only held the lead for 44 seconds before the Devils began a run of four unanswered goals.

Sheldon Keefe was unpleased with the effort, calling it sloppy and immature, not shying away from including his top players in the criticism during his post-game media availability. To their credit, the likes of Auston Matthews and John Tavares publicly took their lumps and accepted them – we’ll see if they can channel that into positive energy tonight, as the team searches for more purpose and structure in their play.

Betting the Capitals (36-26-9 SU, 35-36 ATS, 33-35-3 o/u)

The Capitals have been the very definition of falling upward. Despite a -26 goal difference, worse than all but five teams in the NHL and two teams in the Eastern Conference, Washington seems well on their way to returning to the playoff picture. With six wins in their last seven, interrupted only by these Maple Leafs, they find themselves with a two-point lead on the second wild-card spot with a game in hand on trailing Detroit.

After their game against the Leafs, the Capitals responded with a chaotic 7-6 shootout win against the Hurricanes, a 3-0 shutout of the Jets, and a massive 4-3 overtime win against the Red Wings, who are the team trailing them in this race. With just one more opportunity to take out a team that’s within striking distance of their spot (April 9th vs. Detroit once more), their best path to clinching is to simply claw for any points they can – meaning Toronto can’t take them lightly tonight.

Last Matchup

It’s only been a little over a week since these two teams faced off, and it was a matchup that the Leafs were happy to take advantage of. Needing a strong performance on the second half of a back-to-back, Auston Matthews put the blue and white up just 16 seconds into the game with his 56th goal of the season. It was one of a pair of goals he’d have on the evening, matched by Ovechkin’s own two tallies. For the rest of both rosters, though, it was distinctly Toronto’s night, as they wouldn’t let the Capitals equalize and eventually pulled away with three unanswered goals in the third period.

Projected Capitals and Leafs Lines

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs LinesToday’s Washington Capitals Lines
Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews* – Max Domi
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – William Nylander
Matthew Knies – Pontus Holmberg – Nick Robertson
Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Noah Gregor

Jake McCabe – Timothy Liljegren
T.J. Brodie – Ilya Lybushkin
Simon Benoit – Conor TImmins

Starting In Goal
Joseph Woll
10-9-1, 2.96 GAA, 0.908 SV%
Alex Ovechkin – Connor McMichael – T.J. Oshie
Aliaksei Protas – Dylan Strome – Ivan Miroshnichenko
Max Pacioretty – Hendrix Lapierre – Michael Sgarbossa
Beck Malenstyn – Nic Dowd – Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Rasmus Sandin – Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Starting In Goal
Charlie Lindgren
21-12-5, 2.68 GAA, 0.912 SV%

With Morgan Rielly and Joel Edmundson’s temporary absences (more on that below), the Toronto blue line looks about as messy as can be right now. It’ll be interesting to see how can make the most of this opportunity, as much of the lineup is playing in a role above their projected spot in a fully healthy lineup.

The Capitals lineup isn’t significantly different from the one they rolled against Toronto last time around, though a couple of changes come from injuries and absences (noted below), along with Tom Wilson still serving his previously-mentioned suspension.

Auston Matthews to score a goal


Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Injury Concerns

The Maple Leafs could be any combination of things right now, with a variety of minor injuries and illnesses flowing through the team. Mitch Marner (high ankle) likely won’t draw in at all this week, and we probably won’t see Morgan Rielly or Joel Edmundson tonight either. Ilya Samsonov (calf) is expected to get another night off as well, though he may dress as the backup. Auston Matthews is a game-time decision as well, joining the illness squad.

The Capitals are still without Nicklas Backstrom, as they were last time around and as they will be for what looks like the entire year, if not permanently. Sonny Milano suffered an upper-body injury and is day-to-day, and Ethan Bear was confirmed to be entering the player assistance program on Wednesday.

  • The Maple Leafs have won seven of the last 10 games between these two teams, dating back to October 2019. This includes the last three games, dating back to January 2023. Toronto has beaten the puckline in seven of 10 as well, while the total goals line has hit the over in six of 10 occasions. Interestingly, we’ve had two pushes on total goals in that stretch.
  • The Maple Leafs are 5-5 in their last 10 games, with an equal split against the puckline. They’ve hit the total goals over in six of 10.
  • The Capitals are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and 6-4 against the puckline. They’ve split the total goals line with five overs and five unders. In their last five, they’re 4-1 straight-up with four overs against the total goals line.
  • Auston Matthews is the Leafs’ most productive scorer over their last 10 games, putting up six goals and eight assists. Neither leads the team individually, but together, he has the most points. He does lead them in shots on goal, however, with 48 over that stretch and 306 on the year. Eleven of Matthews’ 14 points in that 10-game span have actually come in the last five games.
  • Leading the Maple Leafs in goals over their last 10 games is William Nylander, who has seven on 34 shots. Leading them in assists is Max Domi, who has nine to go with a single goal.
  • Alex Ovechkin continues his late-season hot streak, leading the Capitals in goals (eight), points (11) and shots on goal (37) over their last 10 games. Dylan Strome leads Washington in assists with seven.

Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

  • Auston Matthews remains the opening fixture here, especially after notching goal 59 and putting himself just one well-placed shot away from his second-career 60-goal milestone. Today, he sits at -155, a little shorter than usual. At the same time, if he plays, his illness should be kept in mind.
  • Alex Ovechkin, whose aforementioned eight goals have all come in the last six games, sits at +130 to score. If you like him and Matthews to both pop off like they did last week, you can get them both for 2+ points on a Boosted Same Game Parlay (+600, up from +550).
  • John Tavares had three points in the last game between the two teams and has 15 in his last 10 against Washington, only going pointless once. He’s -175 to get on the board again. Max Domi is on a similar run, with 11 points in his last six games against Washington and a -125 line to extend that streak tonight with a point.

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