Washington Capitals (62-22-10) at Pittsburgh Penguins (64-31-11)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 13, 2016, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins +126 / Washington Capitals +185 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins square off for their season opener on Thursday night at Consol.
The Capitals look to strike first as they take to the road to face off against their arch rivals, but this one will take a bit of a different tone as the Pens will be without Sidney Crosby while the Caps will have to watch the Penguins unveil their 2016 Stanley Cup banner. The Capitals continue to be one of the best teams in the league year in and year out and this season is no different as they are a consensus Eastern Conference lock to make another deep playoff push and this looks like as good a year as any for them to break through and qualify for the Stanley Cup final. The Caps will be anchored by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgenu Kuznetsov but they have a solid blue line and one of the best goalies in the league as Braden Holtby is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.
The Penguins meanwhile are coming off another magical season that was culminated with a Stanley Cup title and they should be back in the mix again this season in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh returns a solid core but the absence of their best player in Crosby will certainly hurt as it is unknown whether or not he will be back soon or if it’ll be a long term void but we do know for sure that he will not be available in this one. The most interesting dynamic for the Pens on the ice right now though is whether or not Marc-Andre Fleury can regain his top flight form and retain his starting job after he lost it to Matt Murray in last year’s playoffs, but with Murray on the shelf with a broken hand right now it is Fleury’s job to lose.
The Caps are 1-4 in their last five road games and 37-15 in their last 52 Thursday games while the Pens are 11-3 in their last 14 Thursday games and 20-6 in their last 26 against the Metro. This one has all the makings of a low scoring battle as the Caps have Holtby in goal and with Fleury looking to establish himself as the go to guy I think he shows up on night one.