Penguins vs Capitals: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Pittsburgh vs Washington NHL
Pittsburgh vs. Washington, PPG Paints Arena

The Washington Capitals have lost four straight games as the turmoil of the early part of the season has seemingly caught up to then. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins have won the first three contests with the Capitals this season, all at home, and are looking to move ahead of the Capitals in the standings with a win. Pittsburgh has won consecutive games after losing four of five as it tries to sustain its momentum into the heart of the season.

Free Picks

Ovechkin is a proven goal scorer who always seems to show up for these games with the Penguins. He’s scored 36 goals in 62 games against Pittsburgh and he has a goal and three assists so far this season against the Penguins. Since returning from the COVID protocols, Ovechkin has scored in three of his five games, and he hasn’t gone consecutive games without scoring a goal since the first two games of the season. I was expecting far worse odds from the NHL betting sites in New Jersey than the +116 being offered, so I’ll take them while I can before Ovechkin goes to even shorter odds later in the season.

ALEX OVECHKIN SCORES GOAL

During Washington’s recent skid, it has allowed at least four goals in every game and allowed five or more in three of those contests. Pittsburgh has scored 14 goals during the normal course of play in three games this season against Washington, which is an average of almost five goals per game. It would be far easier to bet on Pittsburgh to score more than 3.5 goals at +105 odds or even play for a potential push at four goals with +180 odds, but I’m going bold with +245 odds from the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey. Washington’s defense is a giant liability that isn’t going to be fixed overnight and the goaltending is still going to be suspect until Ilya Samsonov finishes his conditioning assignment in the minor leagues.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS OVER 4.5 TOTAL GOALS

After all that I just wrote about the Washington defense, I’m still betting on the Capitals to win in regulation at +170 odds from the hockey betting sites in New Jersey. Part of it is certainly a way to hedge my bets on Pittsburgh’s offense, but the other part is that Washington is too good of a team to lose five straight games. Washington is going to want to build some positive momentum into its upcoming five-game homestand and Tuesday’s game is vital to the overall playoff race going on in the competitive East Division. Those stakes and the growing frustration with losing are going to bring out the best in the Capitals against their rival. I expect the Capitals to be in relentless attack mode and use their strong offense to outscore Pittsburgh and snap this current skid.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS WIN IN REGULATION

Best Odds

Pittsburgh Washington
888Sport
-129 +106
FanDuel
-126 +108
BetMGM
-115 +100

Statistics

Head to Head

This will be the fourth of eight scheduled meetings between Pittsburgh and Washington, all of which have come in Pittsburgh so far this season. The Penguins have won the previous three meetings, though the Capitals took a point from the first two.

Stats

  • It has been a fairly even rivalry between these two teams over the last five seasons. Pittsburgh held a slight 11-9 edge prior to this season with both teams winning the season series once and tying it three times.
  • The special teams matchup favors the Capitals heavily as Washington has the best power play in the league right now with a 35.5-percent conversion rate while Pittsburgh has the fourth-worst penalty kill at just over 70 percent efficiency.
  • A credit to the Capitals’ offensive skill, Nicklas Backstrom leads the team with 18 points with at least one point in 11 of Washington’s 13 games this season. The Swede is tied with several others for fifth place in the NHL in points and is tied with several notable scorers with seven goals this season.
  • It’s been a team effort in Pittsburgh with three players (Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust) tied for the team lead with five goals. The trio is also the only three Penguins with at least 10 points so far this season for Pittsburgh.

Our Prediction for Pittsburgh vs. Washington

Washington Capitals to win

There is so much going against Washington in this game that I’m almost convinced the Capitals will find a way to win. Washington has lost four straight and has allowed at least four goals in all of those games, so defense is a major issue for the Capitals. The offense is still very dangerous, though, and it’s not as if Pittsburgh’s defense has been stellar this season. The Penguins have allowed at least three goals in their last seven games and 12 of the 13 they have played so far this season. After losing the first three meetings to their rival, the Capitals will come out hungry and win a high-scoring contest with the Penguins.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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