- The Pittsburgh Penguins have seen their average odds to win the NHL’s Metropolitan Division improve to +245
- Pittsburgh trails the division-leading Washington Capitals by four points
- The Capitals have won the past four Metro Division titles
If the Washington Capitals are looking over their shoulders, what they’re seeing is a big, black-and-gold locomotive closing fast on them.
Since Dec. 4, the Penguins are 17-5-1. Their 17 wins and 35 points are leading the NHL over that span. Pittsburgh has moved to within four points of first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division.
Pittsburgh is also gaining significant ground on the odds board. Across the leading online sportsbooks, the Penguins have seen their average 2020 Metro Division odds improve from +533 on Jan. 8th to +245 on Jan. 22nd.
Bovada is especially high on the Penguins, listing them at +190 odds to win the division title.
2020 NHL Metropolitan Division Odds
|Team||Odds at Bovada|
|New York Islanders||+2200|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+2800|
|New York Rangers||+20000|
|New Jersey Devils||+100000|
Odds taken Jan. 22nd.
The Capitals are the odds-on favorite in this betting market at -190.
March Of The Penguins
If the Penguins were seeking out a team motto to describe this season, we shall overcome would be an appropriate fit.
They’ve been impacted all season long by a rash of injuries that would’ve scuttled most team’s campaigns. Instead, the Pens have adopted a next man up approach and just kept on trucking.
Sidney Crosby still has this way of making the most ridiculous stuff look so casual pic.twitter.com/GwNpwV8p6p
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) January 19, 2020
Captain Sidney Crosby recently returned from a 28-game absence following core surgery. Just as he got back into action, 20-goal scorer Jake Guentzel, underwent shoulder surgery.
Guentzel was supposed to play in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game. It’s possible he’ll be out the remainder of the season. He’s already missed 11 games.
Forward Nick Bjugstad has missed 40 games with a lower-body injury. Defensemen Brian Dumoulin (27 games, lower body) and Justin Schultz (23 games. lower-body) are also out.
Forward Patric Hornqvist recently returned from injury. He’s missed 16 games this season. Forwards Evgeni Malkin (13 games) and Alex Galchenyuk (8 games) and defenseman Kris Letang (8 games) have also spent significant time on the injured list.
Capitals A Resilient Bunch
Washington went into its bye week rallying from a 4-1 third-period deficit to defeat the division-rival New York Islanders 6-4. It was the fourth straight win for the Capitals. It was also the seventh time this season that the Caps have come back to win a game when trailing in the third period.
Washington captain Alex Ovechkin fired a hat-trick in that game to surpass former Pittsburgh captain and current team owner Mario Lemieux (691) on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Ovi’s now tied for ninth.
As if the Caps and Pens didn’t have enough on their plate in terms of a long-standing rivalry.
While the Penguins are heating up, Washington isn’t exactly slumping. The Capitals are 6-2 in January. They entered their bye week leading the NHL in wins, points and goals.
Should Be A Fantastic Finish
Washington returns from its eight-day break Jan. 27th against Montreal. Following Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh launched an 11-day break.
When they’re both back at it, things figure to get interesting. The Penguins and Capitals have yet to meet on the ice this season.
They aren’t slated to face each other until Feb. 2nd. The Pens and Caps also play on Feb. 23rd, March 7th, and March 22nd.
Metro teams in the overall league standings.
Blue Jackets 10th
Imagine being in 11th place out of 31 teams and out of the playoffs.
— Mark Scheig (@markscheig) January 22, 2020
Traditionally, Washington writes regular-season success stories The Caps won the last four Metro titles.
The Penguins soar in the postseason. They’ve captured three of four playoff series from Washington during the Crosby-Ovechkin era.
Expect these traditions to continue.
Pick: Washington Capitals (-190).
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