Metropolitan Division rivals meet on Wednesday night in Washington as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Washington Capitals on NBCSN. Both teams are battling for first place in the best division in hockey with four teams having 55 points or more. Pittsburgh will be looking for revenge on Wednesday night as the Penguins were humiliated 7-1 in Washington back on mid-November. This will be an interesting matchup between the top-ranked offense of the Penguins that is averaging 3.4 goals per game and the top-ranked defense of the Capitals that is allowing just 2 goals per contest.
At 8 p.m. ET, tune into NBCSN for live television coverage of this NHL game on Wednesday, January 11, 2016, at the Verizon Center.
We'll have NHL odds at BookMaker.eu available for this and every game on the NHL Wednesday schedule.
The Penguins will have had two days off to get ready for this first game of a three-game road trip. Pittsburgh is 8-9 on the road this season with 11 games going over, 5 going under with 1 push.
The Capitals will have had one day off to get ready for the first game of a three-game homestand. The Capitals are 15-6 at home this season with 11 games going under, 7 going over with 3 pushes.
The Penguins are all about offense as they lead the league in goals per game and their power play is 5th-best at 22.4%. Defense and penalty killing is another story as the Penguins are just 23rd in penalty killing at 80% and they are 18th in goals against at 2.8 per contest.
Pittsburgh has a superstar player in Sidney Crosby but they also feature Evgeni Malkin who was the top scorer in the league in December as he had 7 goals and 21 points in 15 games. He actually has more points than Crosby but Crosby has more goals. “Geno's been great,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He's quietly had a dynamic year for us offensively. I think he's as good an offensive threat as there is the league.”
The Capitals are just 21st in the league on the power play at 16.4% but they are 9th in goals at 2.8 per contest. The Capitals are excellent on defense leading the league in fewest goals allowed and they are 3rd in penalty killing at 87.1%.
The Penguins are without Matt Murray right now as he is injured so it has been all Marc-Andre Fleury in goal lately. He is 12- 9 on the season with a 3.12 goals against average. The Penguins have given up two goals or more in six of the last seven games but it hasn’t really mattered as the offense has been rolling.
The Capitals feature Braden Holtby who is 18-12 this season with a 1.93 goals against average. The backup is Philipp Grubauer who is 7-2 with a 1.94 goals against average.
Holtby has been the star for the Capitals this season. He had back-to-back shutouts last week in wins over Columbus and Ottawa.
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Despite losing 7-1 in the last meeting, the Penguins have had a lot of success against the Capitals in recent years taking 7 of the last 10. They have split the last ten in Washington with three of the last five going over the total.
This matchup on Wednesday night should be excellent as both teams are playing at an extremely high level. The Penguins feature the best offense while the Capitals have the best defense. I would normally go with the better defensive team but I am leery of taking the Capitals simply because Pittsburgh is playing with revenge from the rout they suffered in Washington earlier this season. I also am not thrilled with taking the Penguins with Fleury in goal. I will avoid a side and just take this game over the total.
NHL Odds: Penguins 4, Capitals 3
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