You’re not going to find two teams that hate each other more on the ice than the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. The two will get it on in NHL betting action for the second time in less than a week when they meet at Consol Energy Arena on Thursday night.
At this point in the season, virtually every team has a highlight game or two to showcase. Washington… not so much. The Caps only have two wins this year, they have yet to win a game on the road, and they have yet to score more than three goals in a game. It definitely has been ugly all around. LW Alexander Ovechkin has been nowhere to be found all season long with just two goals and three assists in 10 games, and the rest of the offense has struggled as a result. Defensively, neither G Michal Neuvirth nor G Braden Holtby has really been anything special this year either, and neither has more than one win on the campaign. The highlight of the year thus far is clearly C Mike Ribeiro, who is tied for second on the team in goals with three and is the leader in assists (8) and points (11). RW Joel Ward has put the biscuit in the basket four times this year to lead the club.
The Penguins are on a roll with four straight victories to their credit. They have scored 18 goals in that stretch, which is a dozen more goals than they had scored in their previous four games. Everything that you think of when you think of Pittsburgh is coming true this year. The offense is flying all over the place, averaging 3.3 goals per game, while the defense and goaltending has been slightly suspect, but ultimately adequate, allowing 2.4 goals per game. The men that are scoring offensively are, without much surprise, C Sidney Crosby, C Evgeni Malkin, LW Chris Kunitz, and LW James Neal. Neal is tied with Kunitz for the team lead in goals with six each, while Sid the Kid and Malkin each have 10 helpers. D Kris Letang needs just one more point to become the fourth player on the team with at least 10 points this season, something that is truly remarkable, knowing that there have only been 10 games played thus far on the campaign.
At some point, Washington is going to get its act together. The oddsmakers are going to stick far too much chalk on the backs of the Pens in this game, and that at least makes us think that the value is on the side of the Capitals on the NHL betting odds.
Washington Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins Pick: Washington Capitals