The Coach's NHL Puckline PUNISHER
(NHL) Colorado vs. Washington, 01/12/2015 2:00 PM, Score: 1 - 2
Point Spread: 1.50 | -190.00 Colorado (Away)
Result: Win
The Washington Capitals have been hot of late, winning four of their last five overall and five consecutive on home ice. Tonight they'll host a team that has been almost equally hot though, as the Colorado Avalanche are coming to town. The Avs have won five of their last six, including a shutout win at the United Center against the Blackhawks. The Caps won the first game of this series 3-2 in Colorado, and I expect another close contest tonight.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Semyon Varlamov - The 26 year old has started seven consecutive games and is 6-2-0 with a 1.97 GAA and two shutouts since returning from a groin injury. He has allowed 10 goals over five games in January, posting a .947 saving percentage. He was a Washington player for three seasons prior to joining the Avs, and has fared well in recent meetings with his former club allowing only two goals while winning both meetings last season.

2. Colorado's Penalty Kill - The Avs have one of the very best penalty killing units in the NHL at their disposal, giving up a goal on less than 15% of their penalties. The have killed off 15 straight penalties over five games.

3. X-Factor - The Caps have dropped three straight meetings with the Avs in Washington.

Selection: This is a play on the Colorado Avalanche +1.5 (8*)