The Pittsburgh Penguins are doing their best to hang with the Capitals to secure the 1st overall seed in the Eastern Conference, but it’s been a difficult process for them. As it currently stands, the Penguins have 47 wins and the Caps have 51 wins. The Pens have some work to do if they want the President’s Trophy, with little time left in the regular season. Note, though, that the Penguins didn’t need the President’s Trophy to beat the Capitals in the playoffs a year ago. They also didn’t need a President’s Trophy to win a Stanley Cup.
I can tell you that Ovechkin and the Capitals couldn’t care less about winning the President’s Trophy though, they want what Sidney Crosby and the Penguins have been so good at obtaining. Crosby will be going for his third Stanley Cup, while Ovechkin is seeing his first ever championship. Ovechkin is still playing at an elevated level, so the idea of him winning a Stanley Cup before it’s all said and done is possible. Maybe this season?
The Penguins are going to be competitors again, so don’t expect them to go away quietly. However, at the same time, this team is not the same as last season. A superior defence can take you very far, but the Pens do not have a superior unit this season.
The superior offence is still there, but defensively they’ve slipped backwards. The Penguins grabbed an overtime win over the Rangers the other night, but it was their first win in five efforts. This team is just waiting for the playoffs to begin, I can tell you that much. But we’re going to see if they can get enough of their defence to repeat. Let’s get to the Penguins vs. Hurricanes pick below.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick
The Hurricanes probably wish they had a game or two back from the past. They’ve turned it up of late, winning five of their last six games. They looked dead in the water, but are doing an adequate job giving themselves a shot at the postseason. It’s not easy in the competitive Eastern Conference, though. If they can continue this push over the next two weeks, who knows? Maybe they make something out of it.
The Canes have averaged 3.33 goals per game in their last six games. Scoring has been simple for them lately, while defending offence has been difficult for the Penguins. Like I said earlier, this is not the same defence as in the past, but they have been getting torched right off the ice recently. Note that the Penguins have allowed an average of 4.5 goals per game across their last four outings. Fleury and Murray have been trading starts, both with mixed reviews between the pipes.
At first look, this looks like a game where the Penguins should cruise, but the defence has been awfully tough to trust. The Pens are 1st overall in the NHL in scoring, so will they be able to keep pace, though? For our Sunday pick in the NHL, we like this one to go OVER the posted total.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)