- Pittsburgh Penguins pegged as favorites over the Washington Capitals in first home meeting of the season
- Penguins lag three points behind the slumping Capitals in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division
- Read on to get all the odds and insight into Saturday afternoon’s matchup at PPG Paints Arena
The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to make up for lost ground in the Metropolitan Division standings when they host the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon as slim -125 favorites in the Capitals vs Penguins odds. Puck drop is slated for 1pm ET.
Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins Odds
|Washington Capitals||+1.5 (-215)||+113||O 6.5 (-120)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||-1.5 (+185)||-125||U 6.5 (+109)|
*Odds taken on 03/06/2020
Penguins Losing Ground in Divisional Standings
Pittsburgh is coming off a 4-2 win in Buffalo that leaves the club riding a two-game win streak going into their clash at PPG Paints Arena. But the club still has work to do to get back in the hunt for the top of the division after falling to defeat in six straight outings prior to their two recent victories.
NHL 3/5 Standings Metropolitan Division (in points):
1) WSH 87
2) PHL 87
3) PIT 84
4) CBJ 79
5) NYI 78
6) NYR 76
7) CAR 75
8) NJD 64
— Kingshark Sports (@KingsharkSports) March 6, 2020
And while the Penguins can close the gap on Washington to just a single point with a victory on Saturday, another rival in the race for first place has emerged during their recent slide. The Philadelphia Flyers have powered past the Penguins to join the Capitals atop the divisional standings during an eight-game win streak, and now sit alongside Pittsburgh as +200 co-second favorites to win the Metropolitan Division.
Pittsburgh Winning Big on Home Ice
The added pressure is unlikely to faze the Penguins, particularly on home ice, where they have earned the win in seven of their past nine contests, and now trail only Philadelphia with 23 home victories. And when Pittsburgh has won on home ice of late, they have done so decisively, outscoring opponents by a 21-7 in each of its past four wins, all by multi-goals margins.
Sidney Crosby had 3 points (1g, 2a) on Tuesday vs. #GoSensGo after going 3-straight games without a point.
During the team's 6-game losing streak, Crosby had just 1 goal and was a -8.
— PenguinsChronicles (@PensChronicles) March 5, 2020
Those high-scoring ways have been reignited in the club’s past two outings, with Pittsburgh shooters racking up 11 total goals in those contests. The usual suspects have led the Penguins assault, with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combining to rack up 10 total points over those contests, while recent addition Jason Zucker has contributed four points.
The Penguins’ dynamic duo have also racked up the points with regularity when facing the Capitals
The Penguins’ dynamic duo have also racked up the points with regularity when facing the Capitals, with Crosby netting nine points during a six-game points streak, and Malkin contributing 15 points in his past nine meetings with Washington.
Capitals’ Road Woes Continue
These two teams have each earned a win in a pair of meetings so far this season, capped by a 5-3 Capitals victory in Washington on February 23. However, Saturday’s contest marks the first time they will meet in Pittsburgh during the current campaign. Overall, the Penguins have taken four of six from the Capitals since the start of last season, a run that features a pair of home victories. But with both these clubs struggling with inconsistency, neither can take anything for granted.
Mika Zibanejad scored five goals to match the New York Rangers’ record, including the overtime game-winner to secure the team's 6-5 victory over the Capitals. He is the second player in NHL history to score his fifth goal with an overtime winner! #NHL https://t.co/l9FEiuicsF
— Steel City Collectibles (@SCCTradingCards) March 6, 2020
The Capitals saw their recent swoon extended with a 6-5 overtime loss to the New York Rangers as -130 road chalk on Thursday night. Overall, Washington has recorded consecutive wins just once while losing 11 of their past 17 contests, including defeats in five of the club’s past six road dates.
Struggling at Both Ends of the Ice
Consistently shutting down opposing shooters has becoming a real problem for the Capitals. The club has surrendered an average of 3.74 goals per game during their 17-game slump, and while they have allowed three or fewer goals in eight of nine road dates, a spotty offense has failed to seize the opportunity.
Lost in the mess of last night's Caps defensive debacle in NY is that Alex Ovechkin is now tied for the NHL lead in goals at 47 with David Pastrnak. Auston Matthews is just a goal back at 46 and Leon "2019-20 MVP" is four back at 43 goals.
— Ed Frankovic (@EdFrankovic) March 6, 2020
Most notable among slumping Capitals shooters has been Alex Ovechkin, who recorded just six points in 12 February contests, but has turned things around with five points in the past three games, including a pair of goals in Thursday’s loss to New York. The Capitals are likely to need more magic from their captain if they are to snap out of their recent funk and preserve their perch atop the Metropolitan Division standings.
Picks: Penguins -125; OVER 6.5 (-120)
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