It’s do-or-die time for the Washington Capitals again tonight. A win in Washington in Game 5 set up a chance to force a Game 7 back home. The Caps have to get a victory to force that game, though.
Pittsburgh are at home where they’ve felt so comfortable this season. Including the playoffs, the Penguins are 35-6-3 in Pittsburgh. A rather impressive mark for a team who have been one of the clutches teams in the NHL since Sidney Crosby came to Pittsburgh.
Crosby surprisingly played in Game 5, after it looked like for certain that he was going to be sitting out with another concussion. He suited up and played, though, albeit taking a loss.
The Pens won in Pittsburgh their last time here, but it wasn’t without some major help from their goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. Without Fleury, the Capitals would be looking at closing this series out instead of the Pens.
The Capitals peppered Fleury with 38 shots in Game 4 but it turned out not to be enough. Pittsburgh only had 18 shots on Holtby, however, they managed to hold on for the all-important win in Game 4. The Capitals aren’t down in this series because of a lack of effort.
They’ve been playing decent hockey, it’s just been one of those series where a play here and there makes all the difference. And, most definitely, the Penguins have proven to be much more clutch under pressure than the Caps over the past several years. Crosby can add another win over Ovechkin on his resume with a win tonight. Find out what we are thinking below, and get our free Capitals vs. Penguins Game 6 pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins 6 Pick
The Capitals aren’t playing bad hockey in this series, but again, the Penguins have capitalized on their opportunities when the occasion arise. I think what the rest of this series comes down to is who players better in net, Braden Holtby or Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has played better than Holtby up to this point. After all the speculation that Fleury wasn’t going to be a liability, he’s actually been saving the Pens against the Capitals. Note that Washington have averaged 33.6 shots per game. In every game this series they’ve accumulated more than 30 shots. Conversely, Pittsburgh have an average of 23 shots per game on net, including only 20 in their last two games.
I think the price is just about right in this game. However, the idea of this game going seven games at the start of the series looked promising, and in my opinion, it still looks like a pretty good chance of happening.
I can see Ovechkin and Oshie coming out with guns a blazing. Additionally, Crosby did not play like Crosby in Game 5. He looked tentative and not playing at 100 percent. Believable enough after he just suffered what appeared to be a concussion a few days earlier. I would love to see a Game 7, as would everyone else, except Penguins’ fans. I’m going to go against the grain with this pick, and bank on the Capitals to play clutch hockey for once deep into a series against the Pens.
PICK: CAPITALS (+100)