The Washington Capitals visit the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night in a battle of teams that have heavy Stanley Cup aspirations.

Alex Ovechkin is two goals away from 700, but Washington has been struggling big time at the defensive end of the ice, surrendering 32 goals in its last eight games. Braden Holtby’s confidence has been shaken, and the former Stanley Cup champion goalie is not playing well. The defense has not been playing lockdown hockey, and the penalty kill has struggled, giving up at least one power-play goal in four of the last eight games. That could be trouble against a very explosive and potent Colorado squad that is averaging an NHL-best 3.63 goals per game.

The Avalanche will be in the midst of a lengthy homestand and should be fired up. However, Washington could be a sneaky road underdog bet in this spot, coming off two terrible performances in losses to the Flyers and the Islanders by a combined score of 12-5. Washington lost to Colorado 6-3 at home in October, but the Capitals will take a commanding 20-6-1 road record into this game, which could point to them as live road underdogs.

The play: Capitals, +110.