At the onset of the season are increasing concerns about the Stanley Cup windows of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 while Washington won it in 2018. However, both teams had embarrassingly weak performances in the 2020 playoffs that have gamblers concerned. The Capitals have changed coaches in a wise move that could serve as a reboot with the NHL betting odds. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh stayed the course behind the bench. Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby is still among the NHL’s best players. But he’s no longer as dominant. His old rival, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, remains elite offensively. Defensively he’s reverted to bad habits that former Washington coach Barry Trotz cured him of. Or to put it another way, the Great Eight is a part-time back-checker.
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
Date and Time: Sunday, January 17, 2021, 12 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
NHL Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu:
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Capitals at Penguins TV Coverage: NBC
Capitals at Penguins Bookmaker Odds Overview
For Sunday’s NBC matinee game, we have two of the most public and popular teams on the board. Because of this online betting stands to be even between these teams. As a matter of fact, even hockey sharps are split on the merits of these two teams. Live betting should generate plenty of activity. The public views these two teams as highly skilled with the ability to score. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin most contribute to that perception. Contrarian gamblers will be thinking under the total with the theory of getting a bargain.
Washington Capitals Overview
Washington fired coach Todd Reirden after last year’s first-round playoff debacle against the New York Islanders. Reirden proved inadequate in replacing Barry Trotz. Of course, it was Trotz that led the Capitals to the 2018 Stanley Cup. Taking over behind the Washington bench is Peter Laviolette. Laviolette led the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup. Additionally, he led the Flyers and Predators to the Stanley Cup Final. Laviolette is well regarded for developing strong offensive teams. That is what got Nashville to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
Long time goaltender Braden Holtby has departed. As a result, Ilya Samsonov is the number one netminder. The offensive core remains strong. Nicklas Backstrom, TJ Oshie, and Alex Ovechkin are a dangerous top line. First defenseman John Carlson can be dominant.
Pittsburgh Penguins Team Overview
Also coming off playoff a 2020 playoff disaster are the Penguins. Coach Mike Sullivan won two Stanley Cups in his first two seasons of 2016 and 2017. Since then, the going has been tougher. Pittsburgh lost in the qualifying round to 12-seed Montreal last summer. To some, it seemed to be a warning of bad times ahead. To others, it was a fireable offense for Sullivan.
Now Tristian Jarry has taken over as the Penguins' number one goaltender. Matt Murray has departed after sharing the net for several seasons. Jarry was the better goaltender between the two in the last couple of years. Centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lead the attack. Kris Letang is the top defenseman.
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins Against the Spread
Overall, the Capitals have won four of their last seven against the Penguins. Five of those seven games have gone over the total. Washington has won three of their last five games at Pittsburgh. Three of the last four in this series at Pittsburgh have gone over the total.
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins Bookmaker Free Picks
In this situation, Washington will get the superior price with the NHL betting odds as the road team. They also have the confidence of knowing they can win at Pittsburgh.
Capitals at Penguins Bookmaker Best Bet: Washington Capitals
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