Alexander Ovechkin is desperate to finally lead his team to a conference finals. For all the regular season accolades the talented winger has tallied, he has yet to find much success in the postseason and that is the main argument detractors use against calling him the best player in the league. For his Washington Capitals to defeat the team that has been the thorn in their side the last few seasons, the Pittsburgh Penguins, would make his first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals all the sweeter.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 8, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN. We will have NHL playoff hockey odds at BookMaker.eu for every postseason game.
NHL Playoff Odds at BookMaker.eu
Pittsburgh Penguins -131 Over 5.5 -105
Washington Capitals +110 Under 5.5 -115
Pittsburgh took control of this series early with road wins in Games 1 and 2, but has had trouble holding Washington at bay since Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion. Crosby was knocked out early in Game 3 and missed Game 4 entirely, and was somewhat limited when he returned in Game 5.
The under is 3-2 in this series, despite each team tallying at least two goals in every game this series. These teams are both fantastic on the offensive end, so it’s not a surprise at all that the goalies have not had great games, but have performed well enough.
Without question, the biggest concern for the Penguins is the health of Sidney Crosby. Crosby was putting on a clinic this postseason before he suffered his latest concussion. He had tallied four goals and seven assists in the first seven games of the postseason before going down and wasn’t the same Sid when he returned to the ice on Saturday.
This is the fastest that Crosby has ever returned from a concussion as he famously missed over 100 games in two seasons with lingering issues. It was a bit unexpected to see him come back from this one so quickly, but the Penguins know that the Capitals are the biggest threat left in their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Whether or not Crosby can have more than a psychological impact though remains to be seen.
Once again the Capitals are outshooting the Penguins in this series, but the Pens have been able to make the most of their limited chances. Whereas Marc-Andre Fleury has seen an average of 35 shots a night through five games, Braden Holtby has seen just 21 a game. Pittsburgh’s sharpshooters just have the ability to send the puck home through the smallest opening and that has been the difference.
For Washington, it needs to capitalize on its plethora of chances. Fleury has had a pretty good series thus far with a lot of help from his defensemen getting down to block shots, but he can give up huge rebounds at times. If Washington can keep swarming the net, the Caps should be able to bang one or two garbage goals home.
Free NHL Playoff ATS Picks
If there’s ever a time for Washington to beat Pittsburgh it has to be this season. The Penguins are incredibly banged up with Kris Letang out for the postseason, Matt Murray still sidelined, and Crosby ailing. Additionally, the Capitals mortgaged their future to win now with the addition of Kevin Shattenkirk from the Blues and he will likely be gone in the offseason.
This is going to be a high-scoring affair with both teams putting their faith in their offenses. Crosby should be a little better than he was last game, but is still not 100 percent, and Pittsburgh will need to find offense from other avenues. Look for Evgeni Malkin to respond with a great night as the Penguins win and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
NHL Playoff Odds: Penguins 4, Capitals 3
BookMaker.eu offers play-by-play betting odds for live sporting events every day! The user-friendly wagering interface on your smartphone provides an easy way to place bets on the go. Mobile betting lines are updated by the minute, so click here to start gambling on thrilling live action at BookMaker.eu!