Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals Free NHL Pick 1/11/12
It hasn’t been a fantastic first half of the season of NHL betting action for either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Washington Capitals, and the two teams are going to square off with one another at the Verizon Center on NBC Sports on Wednesday night.
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The Penguins have had some major injury problems over the course of the last few weeks, and they are really starting to mount. James Neal, Craig Adams, and Arron Asham are all back in the lineup this week, though all three have missed games in recent weeks. That being said, Jordan Staal, Kris Letang, and Sidney Crosby are all also out of the fold, and there is no timetable set for any of their returns in the near future. Marc-Andre Fleury was rested on Tuesday night, and he should be ready to go on Wednesday after the off day. With so many injuries offensively, Fleury and the defense have to be on the tops of their games to pick up points. The Pens are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and with the New York Rangers now 10 points clear, the likelihood of winning the division is pretty much gone. That means that getting into the playoffs is going to be awfully difficult, and coming into play on Tuesday night, Pittsburgh is just barely hanging on to the last seed in the postseason.
Washington would be out of the playoffs if they started on Tuesday, but at least the Caps know that they are playing decent hockey and are playing in a division where no one is running away and hiding. The Florida Panthers probably aren’t ultimately going to win the Southeast, which is going to make for plenty of time for the Capitals to get back in the race in the division, as well as in the chase for the last few playoff spots. Washington is going to be happy to be back at home after losing 5-2 games against the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in a span of just three days. Before that trip to the West Coast, it had won four in a row and had scored at least three goals in all four games. Mike Green should be back in the lineup for this one after missing the majority of the last two games with a groin strain, while Nicklas Backstrom is questionable. He wasn’t with the team on the roadie after suffering a concussion right at the outset of the calendar year.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals Pick: The Penguins are going to be back at as full of strength as possible, but in the end, they are only 2-8 in the last 10 meetings in this series, and they just aren’t playing great hockey. We give Washington a pass for its road troubles over the last week, and we think that getting back to the Verizon Center will be just what the doctor ordered to get two points. The pressure will mount on the Pens on Wednesday night.
Free Hockey Pick: Washington Capitals
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