NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals

The most interesting game on the board tonight is this battle of Metropolitan Division heavyweights. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals are tied for second in the most brutally competitive division in hockey this season. They’re actually in a three way tie with the New York Rangers and all three teams are three points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets. They don’t have much to worry about from below them in the standings–Philadelphia is in fifth place with 48 points putting them 9 out of second place. Both teams are playing very well at the moment. Actually, all of the top half of the division is playing well and all have won 7 of their last 10 games. Washington is 7-1-2 in their last ten and have won six straight games while the Rangers are 7-3-0 in their last ten and have won their last two.

The Penguins’ goaltending soap opera continues–after Matt Murray took over the starting job with his amazing playoff performance he suffered an injury early in this campaign which opened the door for the former starter, Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury responded by playing decent hockey while Murray has battled injuries–and is listed as ‘questionable’ with an illness here. He’s one of four Penguins listed as questionable with ‘illness’ and that’s usually a ‘tell’ that there might be some ‘walking wounded’ in the lineup that will be playing at less than 100%. You’re better off betting against a flu ridden team than backing them financially.

Washington will respond with Braden Holtby who is having another excellent campaign and might be back in the conversation for a Vezina Trophy along with Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky and Carey Price in Montreal. Holtby has a 19-8-4 record with a 1.90 goals against average and a 0.931 save percentage plus five shutouts. The fact that Washington leads the league in scoring defense (2.00 goals per game) bolsters Holtby’s case. Pittsburgh is #17 here allowing 2.77 goals per game though they are scoring in buckets this season leading the league with 3.51 goals per game.

The Capitals are scary when they start playing confidently and that’s what they’re doing now. Caps are 15-5-1 at home this year and Pittsburgh hasn’t been anything special on the road (8-6-3). And then there’s the flu bug which definitely won’t help the Penguins. We’ll take the surging Caps at a reasonable price.