Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Game 7 Preview
Where: Verizon Center – Washington, D.C.
When: Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 7:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NBCSN
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Betting on the Pittsburgh Penguins (+1.5)
The Pens are on the verge of becoming another defending champion to blow a 3-1 series lead. They had a second straight dreadful performance at home in Game 6, as they fell 5-2.
Much like they have been for basically the entire series, they were once again outshot, 26-18, including just three in the first period. The Pens’ blue line continued to struggle as they failed to get out of their own zone for long stretches. Not even the reuniting of the “HBK” line in Game 6 could jumpstart the sputtering Pittsburgh attack, and neither did subsequent adjustments.
But it all boils down to one game, and as poorly as the Pens have played over the past couple of games, it’d be foolish for anyone to bet against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and co. in a Game 7, especially on the road. The Pens are a perfect 5-0 all-time in road Game 7s.
They also have a fair bit of experience facing off against Alex Ovechkin in Game 7s. Crosby and Ovi have met in two Game 7s, with Sid and the Pens prevailing in both games. Pittsburgh is 3-0 all-time in Game 7s against Washington.
Betting on the Washington Capitals (-1.5)
The Caps have come back to take this series do a decisive seventh game—and they’ve done it mostly without Alex Ovechkin’s help. Head coach Barry Trotz’s changes, particularly moving Andre Burakovsky to the top line and dropping Ovi down to the third line, have made a huge difference in turning the series.
After going pointless in six straight games, the 22-year-old Burakovsky has exploded with three goals and four points in his last two games, including two unassisted goals in Game 6.
Momentum will definitely be on the Caps’ side for Game 7, but history won’t be. All those years of playoff failure could put a lot more undue pressure on the top-seeded Caps, even at home.
However, they will have Mr. Game 7 himself in Justin Williams, who was brought in exactly for these big moments. His pedigree—14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) and a 100 percent record (7-0) in Game 7s—speaks for itself, and he will be a good bet to pop up with another important play at some point in this game.
The Caps (-170) do it. They finally overcome years of heartbreak as they reach the conference finals with a 3-2 win.
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