The Washington Capitals are down to their last dying gasp tonight. After such an impressive regular season, finishing 1st overall in the NHL, the Caps are on the brink of elimination against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens are one win away from another accomplishment for Sidney Crosby against Alexander Ovechkin. If the Capitals lose tonight, the next time they will likely meet will be in the World Hockey Championship in September. It will be yet another opportunity for Ovechkin to get an upper-hand over Crosby, because right now, his chance at the moment is waning. Ovechkin and the Capitals are going to have to win three in a row to win this series. For all intent and purposes, the Capitals are down 3-1 not because of Ovechkin. The Capitals aren’t down from playing necessarily poorly either, in my opinion.
When you come across a wall in net, it doesn’t really matter. There comes a time though, where somebody has to play that same role for the Capitals. Braden Holtby has played well, it’s nothing against him, but there is no denying that Matthew Murray has been the difference in this series. In who people would consider the best goalie in the NHL, Holtby, is being outplayed by a rookie with little experience in the NHL up to this point. Murray is certainly going to be collecting a nice paycheck for himself in the future. The injury to Marc-Andrew Fleury has worked out well for the Penguins as a team and Murray. While Fleury is a good goaltender, I don’t know if he would be putting on this display between the pipes. With the Capitals down to their last chance, let’s see how Murray holds himself tonight.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals NHL Playoffs Pick
I have unfortunately taken the Capitals the last two games. It looks like I have been chasing them, but I don’t get into the martingale style of betting, which asserts that when you lose a bet, double up the next time, if that loses, then go even bigger the next bet. It’s a traditional system in roulette for betting black and red. However, it’s not a good one, as your bankroll can deteriorate rather quickly. But back to Murray, where this young netminder has allowed 2.25 goals per game against the powerful Capitals’ offense. I’m not sure many other goaltenders would hold up so well against the Caps. Like I said in my previous articles, the Capitals lost three games in a row only once this season, make it two after Game 4.
I don’t want to fall into this trap, but I still feel like this series is going to seven games. The Capitals look like the pick at home, but with Murray playing so well, they need to do something to get under his skin. They need to catch a break, which they haven’t yet. They’ve lost the previous three games by 1 goal each, so these games have been played evenly. I actually don’t see an even game tonight. The Penguins should feel too comfortable tonight and let their guard down a bit. The big question mark is Matt Murray. If he comes out and puts on a circus act in net again, this series is gone to be done in five games. Something tells me though, the Capitals finally catch a break. The NHL wants this to be a long series. Don’t be surprised if calls go the Capitals way tonight. Caps win tonight to set up an epic Game 6 in Pittsburgh.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN -140