Stanley Cup Playoff Odds Penguins vs. Capitals Game 2 Picks
By Rock Westfall
“Here we go again.” That is the cry of Washington Capitals fans and gamblers after a game one disaster that re-opened many old wounds from the past. With two of Pittsburgh’s top players, Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin, out with injuries in game one at Washington and with the Caps holding a 2-0 third period lead fate finally seemed to be on the side of the home town team. But once again the arch nemesis of the Capitals cursed them. The Penguins rallied for three goals in less than five minutes to steal the first game and the initiative. Washington has lost seven consecutive playoff series to the Penguins. And now it’s looking more probable that it’s going to be eight in a row for Pittsburgh. Once again Washington choked on a huge opportunity to seize control against Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Game 2
Date and Time: Sunday, April 29, 2018, 3 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
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Penguins vs. Capitals TV Coverage: NBC
With their 3-2 win in game one the Penguins lead this best of seven series 1-0. After game two on Sunday games three and four will be in Pittsburgh. If necessary game five is back in Washington, game six would be in Pittsburgh, and game seven would be set for the US Capital City.
Malkin and Hagelin remain questionable for game two. Malkin is hobbled with a leg issue while Hagelin has an injured face. Malkin in particular is a key component for the Penguins as evidenced by his 42 goals and 56 assists with a plus 16 in the regular season. In the playoffs Malkin has three goals and two assists. He has played a key role in all three of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup championships.
Players to Watch
Pittsburgh center, team captain, and seven time All Star Sidney Crosby is on playoff fire with seven goals, eight assists and a plus eight in seven games. Fellow center Jake Guentzel has been every bit as good with seven goals, nine assists and a plus 11. Top defenseman Kris Letang has one goal, six assists with a plus seven.
Washington left wing and team captain Alex Ovechkin catches a lot of heat each spring for the team’s playoff failures but it’s hardly fair. And so far, this playoff season “The Great Eight” leads the Caps with six goals and four assists. That being said Ovechkin missed a wide-open net in game one that literally brought him to his knees in frustration. Top Washington defenseman John Carlson has one goal with eight assists so far in post season. The Caps do remain strong up the middle with centers Evgeny Kuznetsov (five goals and four assists) and Nicklas Backstrom (two goals and six assists) providing excellent playoff production so far.
Washington goaltender Braden Holtby began the first two games of post season on the bench. He rescued the Caps in the first round by backstopping four straight wins after they fell behind 2-0 to begin the series. Holtby has a save percentage of .924 so far in post season. He has a mixed record in the past playoff failures of Washington. In the regular season he actually played himself out of a job. Game one was a reminder of his worst moments in past playoff years.
Pittsburgh netminder Matt Murray also had a subpar regular season but has more than recovered in the playoffs. Murray has posted a save percentage of .917 with two shutouts. Murray backstopped both Stanley Cup titles for the Pens in 2016 and 2017.
Pittsburgh has had a solid advantage over Washington in this head to head series with eight wins in the last 12 meetings. Five of the last six in this series have gone under the total. The Penguins have brought considerable value in games at Washington with five wins in their last seven visits. Five of those seven games have gone under the total.
Penguins vs. Capitals Free Picks
The definition of insanity is to expect something different from the same set of circumstances. So goes the old adage that may apply to this series. Game one reminded all why Pittsburgh is a back to back Stanley Cup champion and the Caps are renowned as chokers.
Penguins vs. Capitals Pick: Bet the Pittsburgh Penguins money line
Penguins vs. Capitals Score Prediction: Penguins 4, Capitals 2