Pittsburgh Penguins (54-22-11) at Washington Capitals (59-19-10)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 27, 2017, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Washington Capitals -140 / Pittsburgh Penguins +120 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals begin their much anticipated playoff series on Thursday night at the Verizon Center in DC.
The Penguins made quick work of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round and will be out to send their arch rivals home packing in the Conference semi-finals yet again as they face off with the Washington Capitals in a highly anticipated show down featuring another edition of Sidney Crosby versus Alex Ovechkin. When it comes to personal hardware and accolades the edge goes to the Russian sniper who has had more of an impact when it comes to regular season success but on the biggest stage it is Crosby who has gotten the better of Ovechkin and he will be out to prove his worth once again as the Pens take to the road for the first two games of the series, including tonight’s series opener. Matt Murray is expected to get the start here as he will face off against Braden Holtby in a show down of two of the league’s better goaltenders with the latter coming in as the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.
The Capitals meanwhile look to finally rid of their playoff demons and send the defending champions packing prematurely as two of the league’s best teams face off in the conference semi-finals. Washington had their issues getting through a pesky and underrated Toronto Maple Leafs team and could very well have had their season ended as five of the six games in that series went to overtime, but now that their big scare is over and done with perhaps the Caps will be in a better frame of mind heading into this series. Washington needs to keep the Pens offense in check but that is much easier said than done as Pittsburgh is incredibly deep and has some of their more unknown players thriving in the playoffs and if they can continue to get contributions from the bottom six they will be hard to beat.
The Pens are 4-1 in their last five overall and 11-4 in their last 15 following a win while the Caps are 14-3 in their last 17 against the Metro and 61-20 in their last 81 home games. This series is going to be another classic and the value here to start is on the road team but I think we finally see what the Caps are capable of as they get a huge win at home to start the series.