NHL Penguins vs. Capitals Odds, Preview: Crosby vs. Ovechkin Prediction (November 9)

NHL Penguins vs. Capitals Odds, Preview: Crosby vs. Ovechkin Prediction (November 9) article feature image

Picture by Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Odds

Penguins Odds-137
Capitals Odds+114
Over/Under6.5 (-110/-110)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Penguins vs. Capitals rivalry is a storied one and the games are always a treat.

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are still at the top of their game, even after an unfathomable 17 years and four Stanley Cup trophies between the two legends.

While there's individual excellence at hand on Wednesday night, the teams surrounding the Hall of Famers leave a lot to be desired.

Pittsburgh is currently going through it amid a seven game losing streak. After a three day break to think about correcting their mistakes, the Pens will look to get back on the saddle.

And despite winning their last contest against the Oilers, the Capitals have dealt with a rough stretch themselves. Before their win on Monday, Washington lost four games in a row, finding itself sixth in the Metropolitan Division.

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Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Way has always modeled consistency. Year-after-year you can expect the Penguins to contend in the playoffs. For years, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang have run roughshod on the league. They’ve also managed to find exceptional talent, developing scorers Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel.

When digging into the models, I was surprised to find that Pittsburgh is a lot better than it’s looked these past seven games. The one thing that’s held them back has been their goaltending. The Pens generate a decent amount of even strength expected goals, playing to a fifth-best 56.03 xGF%.

For the most part, the defense has been OK. Even strength, they hold steady with a 2.65 xGA/60, but the penalty kill has been abysmal, only succeeding at a 73.2% rate.

Goaltending has been a grind for the Pens. After enjoying the best year of his career last year, Tristan Jarry hasn’t found that spark he once had. He’s currently playing to a -2.5 goals saved above expected (GSAx) and a .903 SV%. After the long break, I can see coach Mike Sullivan going back to the former All Star, as he hopes to regain some confidence.

Washington Capitals

Similar to their counterparts, the Capitals have always found themselves to be atop the East or the Metropolitan Division. Along with Ovechkin, players like Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, and TJ Oshie have stabilized this franchise. Problem for the Caps is that Carlson will most likely be out with an injury, which has explained part of the Capitals recent struggles.

With a team that has so many weapons, I would’ve thought Washington would be better 5-on-5. Currently the Caps stand 25th in expected goals with a 45.91 xGF% and create a little more than eight high danger chances a game. It’s fair to say they get most of their success on the power play, as they converted four out of five times on Monday. For the season, they convert 27.1% of the time — good enough for sixth.

On the defensive end, the Caps have been OK at best. They’re around the middle of the pack with a 2.71 xGA/60 and succeed on the penalty kill at an 81% rate.

Darcy Kuemper will take the crease tonight since Charlie Lindgren won Monday against Edmonton. Kuemper has lived up to the expectations many had for him after signing a shiny new deal with the Caps this offseason. The reigning Cup-winning netminder is picking up where he left off, posting exceptional numbers. He’s currently playing to a .919 SV% and a +5.5 GSAx which is sixth-best amongst all goalies.

Penguins vs. Capitals Pick

This one is tricky since both teams are struggling. Sure Washington is coming off a win, but I’m still not convinced the Caps are fully back. I’m also confident in the Penguins’ ability to bounce back. They’re coming off an extended break, and any team that’s struggling could use a long break. The Pens are also clearly the better team on both ends of the ice 5-on-5.

Pick: Penguins ML (-125)

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