It’s a heavyweight matchup in the NHL tonight, as the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will tangle at the PPG Paints Arena. The Capitals and Penguins have sort of followed the same path this season. There have been some good moments, bad, and everything in between. They haven’t been awful by any means, but this isn’t what people expect from the Caps and Pens, more so the Penguins.
Pittsburgh enter with a record of 28-21-2, which is fine, but average play isn’t what is expected. However, I think the worst for them is in the past. When the season starts to mean more, they will likely start to put it together. The Caps have been fine at 30-15-4, but off the pace for the President’s Trophy. Not that the award means anything, and it hasn’t helped the Capitals win a Stanley Cup, so we’ll see if it’s for the better this year. They are nevertheless 1st in the Metropolitan, but should face some pressure from the surging Penguins.
On paper, Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have been fairly even. Ovechkin has more goals than Crosby, 30 to 17, but Sid the Kid is more of a facilitator than Ovi. Crosby has 39 assists, while Ovechkin holds 23. Points wise they’re just about even, as Crosby has 56 and Ovechkin 53. From the overall body of work, it’s been Crosby that has overwhelmingly enjoyed more success.
From the NHL to the Olympics, he’s always had the upper-hand with Stanley Cups and gold medals. Ovechkin is still searching for team success. He’s more than solidified his position as an individual performer, but we’re still waiting on the Capitals to reach the Stanley Cup Final. There is still something left in the tank, so we’ll see how it goes. It’s always a must-watch affair when the Capitals and Penguins meet. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Penguins pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick
The Pens got off to a slow start, but there has been evidence lately that they are shaking off the rust. They’ve won eight of their last ten games and the offence has been playing their best hockey of the year. In their last ten games, they’ve averaged 4 goals per game. They’ve scored at least 3 goals in nine of their last ten. The defence has been steadily improving as well, with 2.2 goals allowed in their last ten games. Overall, the defence has allowed 2.96 goals per game, so they’ve been getting better in that respect.
Pittsburgh does get a Washington offence who have been on point. They’ve potted 9 goals in their last two games, with a 4-2 win over the Panthers and 5-3 win over the Flyers. The Caps have scored at least six goals in seven of their last ten games, with an average of 3.04 goals scored. Braden Holtby has been okay with a 2.67 GAA, but more is certainly expected out of him. He’s posted a 2.69 GAA against the Penguins in 19 appearances. Both offences have been scoring the puck lately, and I expect it to continue in this pivotal matchup in Pittsburgh. When the Capitals and Penguins are hot, they can be really hot and tough to slow down. A play on the OVER looks like a good option here.
PICK: OVER 5.5 (-110)