There are only two games on the schedule this evening, but one of them is kind of a big deal. Whenever the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals meet up, there is always a certain buzz in the air at the arena. Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin enter into another edition of their rivalry tonight, with that same kind of buzz surrounding this game. Especially since it’s only one of two games, the other being the Coyotes and Flames, which doesn’t exactly get anybody too excited. I know there are more than ten Flames’ fans out there, though, not so sure about the Coyotes.
The Penguins and Capitals have two of the biggest fan bases, in the United States at least. Thanks to this rivalry, the Pens and Caps have some major marketing appeal. Or should I say, thanks to Crosby and Ovechkin. The rivalry continues tonight, a rivalry which has been thoroughly controlled by the Penguins and Crosby. When you look at the hardware won between these teams, the Pens have a sizable advantage. Even if you want to look at it by means of international competition, Crosby has the clear upper hand there as well.
In the standings thus far, the Penguins best the Capitals as well. Albeit by only a game, so the Caps could pull within Pittsburgh with a win tonight. The Penguins and Capitals have already played once this season, which resulted in a 3-2 win for the Penguins. The Pens have clearly been the better team in this series lately by winning five of the last six games. Crosby also has more points and goals than Ovechkin early this season. Additionally, the Penguins have been the better team lately, as they’ve gone 3-1 compared to the Capitals 1-3.
The Caps can feel what success is like with a win tonight, though. The Penguins are responsible for disrupting the path between the Capitals last year in the playoffs a well. Recall that amazing regular season they had. Well it all went for nothing because the Penguins plugged that opportunity up. Seeking revenge in their first game since that series, the Capitals fell again earlier this season. We will see if anything changes at home for them.
I said the price last night in the Blackhawks game looked a little trappy, sure enough, I was snake bitten by the attractive offering. Moving to tonight, were we look to bounce back, which has otherwise been a profitable month in the NHL for us. Both sides are completely healthy heading into tonight. The Capitals have nobody to report on their injury report, which is pretty unheard of in the middle of November in the NHL. And then on the Penguins side, the only player listed on the injury report is Derrick Pouliot, who has turned into a pretty big bust for the Penguins. This is the way we like it though, a marquee being played with no injuries to report, especially to Crosby and Ovechkin.
The Penguins have been unbeatable at home this season, well, except for the one blemish they have on the resume. Conversely, they’ve been fairly beatable on the road with a record of 3-2-1. Statistically it’s a bit of a wash in this one. The Penguins average 3.07 goals per game, compared to 2.53 goals for the Capitals. However, the Caps have been better on defence with 2.33 goals allowed a game, contrasted with 2.60 goals against for the Pens. I see the Pens and Capitals trading wins. The Penguins won at home on October 13th way back then, and now the Capitals win it in Washington. This is the first game on the road after a three-game home stand for the Penguins. I expect them to be a bit sluggish here in Washington.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN +106