The Capitals and Penguins get back at it tonight for Game 3 in Pittsburgh. The Caps and Pens took a split in Washington, as the series heats up in Pittsburgh at the Consol Energy Center. There should be plenty of energy in the air for this one, as the Penguins and their fans gear up to take a 2-1 lead against the Capitals. After two games, nothing has been settled. Crosby nor Ovechkin have the upper-hand. However, after taking a split in Washington, the Penguins could take a 3-1 series lead if they hold home ice down in the next two games. The reason for the win by the Pens is pretty straightforward. Goaltender Matthew Murray had an off game in the first, but was great in Game 2. Murray was the difference maker in the 2-1 Pens’ win. It could have easily been a different result if it weren’t for his heroics. 1 goal separated the Caps and Pens, just like in the first game.
The Capitals caught some breaks, we will say that much in Game. Early in the game Brooks Orpik viciously elbowed Olli Maatta which resulted in a 2-minute interference call. It should have been a 5-minute game misconduct. Then later the Capitals got a questionable tripping call to go their way. None of it mattered, as the Penguins were able to get a late goal to go up 2-1. The Penguins will hope to bring this series to 2-1 tonight. Orpik will have to sit out for three games as part of a suspension passed by the NHL. Is it going to set the Capitals back, or ignite them and provide some additional motivation? Find my thought below for Game 2 in the Capitals and Penguins series.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Playoffs Pick
This series is so evenly matched, in my opinion, that is comes down to goaltending. This is Holtby vs. Murray. Holtby played well last game, sending back 33 shots of 35 from the Penguins. Edge to Murray, as the guy who looks like he could pass for a freshman in high school, bounced back to not get rattled from his poor showing in the first game. There is a lot of pressure on him but he’s handled it excellently. I suspect other teams are out there watching Murray wanting to bring him over to their franchise. If he keeps playing like this, yes he’s going to find a team that will want to pay him. My problem with the Penguins in this game isn’t him, or the Penguins as a team for that matter. There is something amiss to me, though.
The Capitals have gone 29-11-4 on the road this season, they were 1st in the NHL with a record of 61-21-8. Throughout the season the Caps lost back-to-back games only three times, four if you want to include the Flyers last series. Now the oddsmakers are saying that the Penguins are -140 favorite in this game. The news of Orpik sent it up a bit. Regardless of the Orpik suspension, I’m not in the camp that says the Penguins should be favored this heavily. The Penguins should be favored, but not at that price. The Capitals hold the value in this game, and I’ll happily take the 1st place Capitals at +125.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN +125