Best NHL Prop Bets for Lightning vs. Capitals: Nikita Kucherov Looks to Pad Lead in Art Ross Trophy Race

Nikita Kucherov is in a good position to add to his four-point lead in the Art Ross race against the Washington Capitals.
Tampa Bay Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov
Tampa Bay Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

There isn't much drama in the Western Conference after Vegas became the last team to clinch a playoff spot on Friday night. However, the Eastern Conference is still up for grabs.

The Lightning will be forced to accept the first wild card position if the Maple Leafs win one of their remaining three games, but the Washington Capitals are still teetering on the brink of the playoffs. The Capitals sit a point back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card position with three games each remaining.

The Red Wings and Flyers are tied with the Capitals with 85 points, but the Flyers have the disadvantage of one fewer game remaining.

The Capitals' run into playoff contention is nothing short of a miracle, as they could be one of the worst teams all-time in terms of goal differential to make the postseason.

They are -42 with a 37-31-11 record this season and would be firmly in a playoff spot if they hadn't gone 3-5-2 over their last ten. Most hockey fans aren't upset with this development, as they were worried that the Capitals would get run over by their first-round opponent.

However, be careful what you wish for, as the New York Islanders are now third in the Metropolitan Division with a -20 goal differential.

The Lightning were getting close to catching the Maple Leafs but now need a lot of help from the Leafs' opponents to make that a reality.

It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Lightning and Bruins would face off in the first round, but a recent run of losses by the Rangers has put the Bruins and Panthers into contention to get the first seed in the East and send Tampa over to the Metropolitan Division bracket.

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Best Prop Bets for Lightning vs. Capitals

  • Nikita Kucherov To Record 2+ Points
  • Nikita Kucherov Anytime Goal Scorer
  • Steven Stamkos O3.5 Shots on Goal

Nikita Kucherov To Record 2+ Points

The introduction to this article stated how the Capitals are a not-very-good team that somehow has kept themselves in playoff contention. Their playoff chances could end in this game, as their lack of defense could be trouble against the Lightning's firepower.

Nikita Kucherov has been on an absolute tear, tallying 13 points over his past five games. He recorded two assists in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Senators in their last game, which was an off-game compared to his other numbers. He had thre points in four consecutive games before the Ottawa game.

Kucherov's run has given him a four-point lead over Nathan MacKinnon in the Art Ross Trophy race. Winning the Art Ross is important for Kucherov, and he will compete hard to pad his points lead in this game. Don't forget that Tampa Bay is an aging team that has played a lot of hockey, and a bigger lead in the points race could open up the opportunity for some load management for Tampa Bay's stars in the last two games.

Nikita Kucherov Anytime Goal Scorer

Kucherov hasn't been putting up much in the goal department, scoring just one in his last six games. However, he should get plenty of opportunity in this game, and the Capitals' weaknesses will serve Tampa's top players well. The Capitals goaltenders have been under siege, facing 32.2 shots per game over their last ten.

The Capitals penalty kill has been leaking a bit of water, allowing five goals on 20 attempts over their last ten games. At the other end, which is unsurprising with Kucherov running it and averaging over two points per game, the Lightning are 9-for-30 on the powerplay over the last 10 games. Let's hope for a patented Kucherov powerplay one-timer on the half-wall to cash a Kucherov anytime goal scorer ticket.

Steven Stamkos O3.5 Shots on Goal

This bet is a culmination of all the points discussed earlier. The Capitals allowed 32.2 shots per game, while the Lightning are tallying 31.1 over the last ten games. The Capitals have been giving up plenty of opportunities on the powerplay, and Stamkos is their triggerman on the top unit.

Stamkos has recorded 29 shots over six games in April, and he will be firing shots from Kucherov passes all night to add to the Kucherov stat-padding narrative.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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