NHL Hockey Betting: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Hockey Betting:  Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins&h=235&w=320&zc=1

With no Canadian teams in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs this game offers at least *something* that fans ‘North of the Border’ can get behind. Canada’s National team captain Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will take another crack at eliminating the President’s Cup Champion Washington Capitals. The Penguins lead the series 3-2 but are coming off a loss on the Caps’ home ice. Washington will try and extend the series to a Game Seven at the Verizon Center with a victory here. The winner of this series advances to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Matt Murray was somewhat shaky in net the last time out but since it was his first bad game of the playoffs we’re willing to give the 21 year old rookie goaltender a pass. So too, it seems, will his coach Mike Sullivan as he’s named Murray the Game Six starter. The Penguins’ other ‘starting goalie’ is Marc-Andre Fleury and he’s reportedly ready to return to action. Should the Capitals win here and force a game seven it will put Sullivan in a tough position–does he go with the rookie in Game 7 or bring in Fleury who hasn’t played since late in the regular season?

The Capitals have no such questions–their fortunes ride on Vezina Trophy candidate Braden Holtby in net. Holtby was excellent in Game Five, allowing only one goal on 31 shots. The Penguins need to do better on the penalty kill (Caps went 2-5 with the man advantage in Game Five) but they’ve otherwise been defending Washington very well. They held the Caps to just 19 shots on goal in Game Five–the second time in the series they’ve kept Washington under 20 shots on net.

History favors the home team in this matchup. In NHL seven game playoff series home teams that lead 3-2 win Game Six over 61% of the time. Pittsburgh has won 5 of 8 from Washington at home over the past three years and 11 of 18 overall. If Murray can regain his excellent form and the Penguins continue to hold such a significant shots on goal advantage they’ll end the series here.


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