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Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Free Picks & NHL Preview

Capitals vs Penguins NHL Spread/Handicapping

Headline: Red Hot Penguins Host Ice Cold Capitals Thursday Night

The Pittsburgh Penguins, winner of four straight games return home Thursday night to take on the most disappointing team in the NHL – the Washington Capitals. While the Pens impressively avenged a loss to the New York Islanders last time out, the Capitals come into Thursday’s game off a loss to another one of the bottom tier NHL teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Washington Capitals (2-7-1-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-0-0)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 7, 2013
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Broadcast: NHLN-US, CSN-DC, ROOT
Caps vs. Pens Betting Lines from Bovada
Washington Capitals +1½ -165 +178 Ov
Pittsburgh Penguins -1½ +145 -196 Un
Over/Under: 5.5

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It’s pretty hard to like the Washington Capitals right now – they are giving up 3.60 goals per game while scoring 2.30. Losers of four of their last five game, all they really have going for them in Thursday’s game is their recent success against Pittsburgh – Washington is 6-1 their last seven meetings in Pittsburgh and are 9-4 the last 13 meetings. Four days ago however, the Caps dropped a 6-3 decision to the Penguins and Pittsburgh enters Thursday’s game as hot as any team in the NHL.

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The reasons for Washington’s struggles are easy to point out – they have yet to win a game on the road and they have yet to score more than three goals in any game this season. Alex Ovechkin has just two goals and two assists this season, Nick Backstom has one goal on the year and Mike Ribeiro leads the team in scoring with 11 points in 10 games. Only three players have more than 5 points in 10 games so far.

The Washington defense has been equally bad this season – near the bottom of the NHL in that department. Brayden Holtby has been awful in goal and has a 4.52 GAA – it will likely be Michael Neuvirth that gets the call on Thursday. He has a 2.99 GAA but has just a .893 save percentage so far.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won four straight games and have righted the ship that saw them floundering around the .500 mark just over a week ago. The Pens are averaging 3.30 goals per game thus far and are surrendering 2.40 – the numbers worthy of the Atlantic Division leaders.

Offensively the Pens are who we thought they were – three players are averaging over a point per game – Sidney Crosby has 14 pts. in 10 games, Chris Kunitz has 12 including four goals in the last meeting between the two teams and Evgeni Malkin has 12 points thus far. Pittsburgh’s offense is deep and they are talented and simply are the best in the East. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Pittsburgh’s defense and goaltending have certainly been doing their jobs this season. Marc-Andre Fleury is 4-2-0 with a 2.44 GAA and a .907 save % while Thomas Vokoun has had his share of success as well – 3-1 0 with a 2.08 GAA and .927 save percentage. It doesn’t matter who starts in between the pipes for Pittsburgh – they will be in good hands.

Betting Prediction:

A few trends to consider

• Under is 6-1-2 in WAS last 9 road games.
• Under is 23-4-1 in WAS last 28 Thu. games.
• WAS are 2-9 in their last 11 overall.
• PIT are 14-2 in their last 16 vs. Southeast.
• Over is 7-1 in PIT last 8 vs. Southeast.
• PIT are 20-7 in their last 27 home games.
• Under is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings.
• Road team is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been guilty so far this season of not taking care of teams that they should beat – it is tempting to take a shot on the Capitals based on their recent history against Pittsburgh. But the Pens are ramping up and finally looking like the best team in the East. Nothing is easy in sports but Thursday’s game with the lowly Capitals should be for Pittsburgh.

Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -196

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Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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