The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals get the spotlight on NBC on Saturday night in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Penguins are the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions and they have Sidney Crosby, but the Capitals have Alexander Ovechkin who has been the best player in this series so far. Can the Capitals win a huge game at home against their nemesis, the Pittsburgh Penguins? Let’s look at the contest and NHL Playoff picks.
At 7:00 p.m. ET, tune into NBC for live television coverage of this NHL game on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at Capital One Arena.
We'll have NHL odds at BookMaker.eu available for this and every game on the NHL Saturday schedule.
Until the Capitals actually win four games in this series, no one will believe they can actually beat the Penguins. The Penguins are 9-1 all-time in playoff series against the Capitals. The Capitals will not be able to overcome their choker label until they finally beat the Penguins and win this series. It would seem everything is in place for that to happen, as Washington has home ice advantage, so all they have to do to win this series is take care of business at home. The Capitals will have to win without forward Tom Wilson who was suspended for three games for his hit on Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese. Wilson could return if this series goes seven games. Aston-Reese is out for the rest of the series with a broken jaw. The Penguins are hoping that Carl Hagelin will be available to take the place of Aston-Reese. Hagelin did not play in the first three games of this series due to injury.
The Penguins were not a good road team during the regular season, as they went just 17-24. The Penguins did go 3-0 in Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs and they split the first two games of this series in Washington. The Penguins went over the total 24 times on the road during the regular season, with 16 going under, with one push. They are scoring about 3.3 goals per game and giving up about 3 goals per contest.
The Capitals were 28-13 at home during the regular season. They were just 1-2 against Columbus in the first round and they split their first two home games against Pittsburgh. The Capitals went over the total 21 times at home during the regular season, under the total 19 times, with one push. They are scoring 3.1 goals per game and giving up 2.9 per contest.
The Penguins have the best power play in the league, as they hit at over 26%, but they are just 17th on the penalty kill at 80%. The Capitals are 7th in the league on the power play and just 15th in penalty killing.
The teams have split their last ten meetings in Washington, with the last five going under the total. In a bit of an oddity, the teams have combined to score exactly five goals in their last four meetings in Washington.
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This really does appear to be the year that the Capitals finally end their drought against the Penguins and get to the conference final. Washington has been a good home team this season and despite what Pittsburgh did against the Flyers, they have not really been that good on the road this season. I will lay the small price and take the Capitals in this game. I also can’t ignore the really strong trends on the total. The Penguins and Capitals are thought of as two high scoring teams, but they have been going under the total in Washington recently. I will also play Saturday night’s game to go under the total.
NHL Odds: Capitals 3, Penguins 2
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