Stand up for Matthew Murray Pittsburgh fans. Marc-Andre who? If you weren’t paying attention, you would think that Marc-Andre Fleury is in net stealing the series. In fact, it’s a 21-year old rookie named Matt Murray, a guy who I say looks like he’s a freshman in high school is frustrating Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals. The Caps poured it on against him, especially in the 3rd, but he stood tall and brought the Pens a 2-1 lead in the series. The shots were 49-23 in favor of the Capitals! I had the Caps, and have no shame taking a loss like that. Close really isn’t good enough in this business though, so it would have been the same result to my bankroll if the Penguins had the 49 shots.
Murray will have to continue to be big. I don’t foresee the Capitals slowing down. Expect a slew of shots on net again tonight. The Caps came inches of tying the game up after a furious late rally, but Ovechkin just moved the net on an absolute bullet of a shot. When Ovi puts all of his weight into a shot, my goodness, that thing can be a rocket. No thanks, I wouldn’t want to lay down to stop one of his slap shots. Crosby and Ovechkin have yet to score in this series, but it hasn’t been without effort. Neither have played bad hockey, they just haven’t found the back of the net. It is clear by watching Ovechkin play that he is hungry for this one.
Last night the St. Louis Blues continued their practice of exorcising the playoff demons of the past. They put on a clinic last night, and as I write this, are up 5-1 on the Stars at the end of the 2nd period. Like I’ve said, the Blues are a more rounded and complete team than the Stars. The Stars can’t continue to juggle their goaltanders. They are looking like the team they were supposed to be for the past couple years in the playoffs. The Stars are not dead, but the Blues can send a dagger through the Stars in the next game with another win. Tonight we handicap the Capitals and Penguins, the only game on the board in the NHL.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Playoffs Pick
The Capitals need a break to go their way, that much is true. One break might lead into a break in the series. For as hot as Matt Murray has been playing, the Capitals cannot drop to 3-1 in the series. Crawling back against a hot goaltender can be difficult, if not near impossible. Creep has to crawl in Murray’s head for the Capitals to turn the tables. A goofy, bad goal could do the trick. Ovechkin has had plenty of chances, maybe tonight will be the time he finally gets on the board in this series?
The Capitals rarely lose multiple goals in a row. It hasn’t been in their DNA this season. Note that the Caps have lost three goals in a row only once. This was at the end of the season when they were on cruise control, just gearing up and trying to stay healthy for the playoffs. Murray wants to steal this show and he has done a fine job thus far. However, how much more can be take in net? The Capitals have been pressuring him without breaking. I’m going to go with the odds and say that the Capitals don’t lose three games in a row, something they managed to do throughout nearly the entire season. It isn’t going to be a big play for me or anything, but my investment will be with the Capitals.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN -103