The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins meet for another edition in the Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby rivalry. This will be the third battle between the Capitals and Penguins, with each team taking a split in February. The Penguins were winners on February 2 by a score of 4-3, and then the Capitals countered with a 5-3 win on February 23.
They’ve taken turns in their previous ten outings as well, with each team splitting for five wins. There isn’t much that separates the Penguins and Capitals at the moment. The Capitals hold a 3-point lead on the Penguins in the Metropolitan Division. As do the Philadelphia Flyers who have flown up the standings in the Metropolitan.
The Flyers might be the most dangerous team in the division right now, but when the bright lights are on in April, there isn’t a team in the league who will want to get the Capitals or Penguins in the first-round. If the Flyers keep rolling in March, make that three teams in the Metropolitan that teams will want to avoid.
It’s all about getting hot at the perfect moment and the Flyers appear to have that down pat. With regard to the Capitals and Penguins, they’ve been mediocre recently, which has allowed the Flyers to get into the race for the divisional title. There is still ample time for them to get hot before the playoffs arrive in April, though.
Pittsburgh have won their last two games, though they were on a six-game losing streak leading up to their wins against the Senators and Sabres. The Penguins will have a taller order on their hands on Saturday. That said, the Capitals have lost three of their previous four games and are winners in just three of their last ten games. That’s not Capitals hockey. In any event, the Capitals have the talent in their stable to get something going. Since a red-hot October-December for the Capitals, they’ve been rather average in 2020.
After starting on fire, the Capitals have looked disinterested. If it wasn’t for their quick start out of the blocks, the Capitals would not be at 40-20-7 and 87 points. The other way to look at it is that they wouldn’t be tied with the Flyers right now if they weren’t so slow in the last few months. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Penguins pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Odds:
Capitals vs. Penguins Prediction:
The Capitals need to get Braden Holtby or Ilya Samsonov going in the crease. Fortunately for the Capitals, they had Samsonov to lean on with Holtby struggling early in the season. If they didn’t have him, the Capitals wouldn’t be looking at the top of the division this moment. Holtby has been off throughout the season, as he holds a 3.16 GAA and 0.896 save percentage. That’s well off from his career numbers of 2.54 GAA and 0.916 save percentage.
There’s still time for Holtby to get hot, but he’s never felt it at all, at least consistently throughout 2019-20. I don’t know if he’s going to all of a sudden go into playoff mode or what, but the Capitals are going to need it. And while Samsonov was holding up quite well early in the season, he’s been regressing, leading to a tough spot for the Capitals. Samsonov has allowed at least 3 goals in five out of his last seven outings. He allowed 6 goals against the Rangers in his most recent effort, as he gave up 5 goals to Mika Zibanejad, including the game-winner in overtime.
Washington has allowed just over 3 goals per game on the season for 20th in the NHL. In their last ten games, they’ve been trending closer to 4 goals against than 3, with an average of 3.6 goals yielded per contest. The offence came to play for the Capitals at Madison Square Garden, as they found the back of the net 5 times. That wasn’t enough with the defence and Samsonov letting them down, though. Holtby is probable to get the call in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon. He has not been sharp against the Penguins in his career, as he owns a 3.01 GAA and 0.909 save percentage in 25 games.
The Penguins head into Saturday feeling hot after a total of 11 goals against the Senators and Sabres. They followed up a 7-3 beatdown of the Ottawa Senators with a 4-2 win against the Sabres. PPG Paints Arena has lifted the Penguins’ offence up, as they’ve scored an average of 3.55 goals per game at home. That said, the Capitals have scored 3.66 goals per game against the Penguins in their previous three meetings. The OVER converted in each of those tilts. Expect another high-scoring contest on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh.