Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Game 1 Preview
undefinedWhere: Verizon Center, Verizon Center
When: Thursday, April 27, 2017, 7:30 PM ET
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Betting on the Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins breezed through the first round when they kicked Columbus out of the postseason in just five games.
It was mostly all about Pittsburgh’s offense against the Blue Jackets, who had to eat 21 goals from Jake Guentzel and company. That’s the most scored so far by any team in these playoffs and considering that the Pens played just five games, it’s clear how devastating Pittsburgh’s offense can be. Guentzel led the Pens with five goals in the Blue Jackets’ series but it’s still going to be the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin show for Pittsburgh. Crosby had two goals and 5 assists versus Columbus, while Malkin led all Pens with 11 points (2 goals and 11 assists).
With goalie Matt Murray still out with a lower-body injury, Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be between the pipes for Pittsburgh at least for Game 1 against the Caps. Fleury went 4-1 in the first round with a 2.52 GAA and .933 SV%. He was sensational in Game 5 of the Columbus series, rejecting 49 of the 51 shots he faced. The Pens are 2-0 in Fleury’s last two starts against the Caps at home.
Betting on the Washington Capitals
Washington didn’t have it easy in the first round like the Penguins, as the Capitals were surprisingly pushed hard by the young Maple Leafs. Fortunately for the Caps, Braden Holtby got his game together just in time to avoid another embarrassing early postseason exit.
Holtby struggled during the first few games of the series but regained his form the last two games, in which he let in just two goals on 63 shots faced. He definitely has to be more consistent against the much more dangerous Penguins’ offense.
If there’s a team that could match Pittsburgh’s firepower, it’s the Caps. The top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J. Oshie is lethal. Washington boasts of a deep forward set with the likes of Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Andre Burakovsky operating on the secondary lines.
Ovechkin, Oshie, and Williams are tied atop the Caps goals leaders after the first round with three goals apiece.
Washington is 8-2 in its last 10 road games.
Pittsburgh (+120) wins, 4-3.
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