NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Capitals (February 1)
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin (Washington)
Penguins vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
This is always a fun matchup, as it’s the latest installment of Sid vs. Ovi Tuesday night at PPG Paints arena.
Though they’re now elder statesmen in the NHL, the opportunity to see Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin go head-to-head still carries plenty of juice.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals currently sit four points apart in the Metropolitan Division, and both clubs look playoff-bound once again.
Of late, Crosby has found his offensive spark, with seven goals and 14 points in his last nine games. Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin is hanging with the league leaders in both goals and points.
It’s always fun to see which one of these greats gets the upper hand in their showdowns. Here’s your game preview and betting advice.
Pens Healthy & Thriving?
Despite starting the season without the injured Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins quickly put the rumors of their impending collapse to rest.
Tristan Jarry has been a rock in net, boasting an impressive 14.3 goals saved above expected. The Pens show well in their 5-on-5 possession numbers, with an expected-goals rate of 53.45% that ranks them sixth in the league. And Pittsburgh is sharp on special teams — 13th on the power play at 20.6%, and second-best on the penalty kill at 88.2%.
That all adds up to a goal differential of +31, sixth-best in the NHL, and the league’s seventh-best points percentage.
With Crosby and Malkin now healthy, the Penguins are an impressive 10-3-2 since the holiday break.
They’re on a six-game homestand, which concludes against Washington on Tuesday. However, Pittsburgh is, surprisingly, winless in its last three games following a regulation loss to Los Angeles, a shootout loss to Detroit and an overtime loss against Seattle.
Split Goaltending Duties for Caps?
Over in Washington, the Capitals have slumped since the calendar flipped to 2022, with a 4-6-2 record that has caused them to slide down the Metro Division standings.
Though their schedule has been relatively easy, they’ve gone just 2-3-0 in their last five home games. But their last time out, in Dallas last Friday, they handed the Stars a rare home loss, shutting them out by a score of 5-0 thanks to a solid full-team game.
Tuesday’s outing in Pittsburgh is the first of a back-to-back set for the Capitals, who will close out their pre-All Star schedule back home against Edmonton on Wednesday.
That means Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov will likely split the goaltending duties — something for bettors to watch, although the underlying numbers are quirky.
Across the board, Vanecek has the better personal statistics, but his 10-6-5 win/loss record is worse than Samsonov’s record of 13-5-3.
Washington’s 5-on-5 possession stats are also decent — ranking 11th overall at 51.96% — but its woeful power-play results are surprising, especially with a player like Ovechkin at the helm.
The Capitals sit 29th with the man advantage, with a conversion rate of just 15.2%. Is it too predictable after all these years?
Washington had some holes on its blue line last week, with John Carlson in COVID protocols and Dmitry Orlov suspended. Both defensemen are now back, but Nick Jensen remains sidelined with an upper-body injury and Michal Kempny is in COVID protocols.
Forward T.J. Oshie also remains on the shelf with an upper-body issue.
Penguins vs. Capitals Pick
Tuesday’s meeting will be the first time the two sides clash in Pittsburgh this season. Earlier, they split a pair of games in Washington — a 6-1 victory for the Caps in November and a 4-2 decision for the Penguins in December.
That’s an indication of how things can go either way between these two teams on any given night.
With neither side playing its sharpest hockey right now, there’s no clear-cut favorite on Tuesday, although at +135 on the moneyline, the oddsmakers are suggesting that Washington’s odds of victory are just 42.55%.
For a club that had a terrific outing against a tough opponent in its last game and is well-rested and relatively healthy, those odds seem low for a matchup that, in may ways, looks more like a pick ’em.
For that reason, the value in this game lies with Washington.
Pick: Capitals moneyline (+135); play down to +110