It’s always an event when all-time greats Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin face off, and barring injury they will renew their spectacular rivalry in a nationally televised game Sunday afternoon as the Penguins visit the Capitals. Washington will be favored on the Mybookie NHL odds. Let’s see how the NHL odds will be for the Penguins vs Capitals.
Penguins vs Capitals NHL Hockey Odds & TV Info
- When: Sunday, noon ET
- Where: Capital One Arena
- TV: NBC
- Opening NHL Lines: TBA
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
The Pens won the first meeting this year with the Capitals, 4-3 in D.C. on Feb. 2. Sidney Crosby got the better of Alex Ovechkin in their 50th regular-season meeting. The Pens have won 31 of the 50 Crosby versus Ovechkin games dating to their NHL debuts during the 2005-06 season.
Crosby had an assist, and Matt Murray made 29 saves in that one. One of his biggest stops came on a breakaway by Jakub Vrana in the second period with the Penguins leading 2-1, and Dominik Simon scored minutes later to double the lead. Pittsburgh made life difficult on rookie Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who allowed goals to Sam Lafferty, Patric Hornqvist, Simon and Brandon Tanev on 33 shots.
The Penguins have made a trade, although it probably won’t affect much. They landed Riley Barber and Phil Varone from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Joseph Blandisi and Jacob Lucchini. Varone has four goals and 14 points in 27 AHL games this season, while Barber has no points in nine games with Montreal in 2019-20. Back in December, as a member of the Canadiens, Barber accidentally referred to the Penguins as “we” when talking about growing up as a fan in Washington, Pa.
On the morning of December 4, the Penguins sat at fifth in the Metropolitan Division standings with a 14-9-4 record, trailing the division-leading Washington by 13 points. Since then, the Penguins have gone 22-6-2 to get back in the Metropolitan Division race.
The Penguins’ power-play unit is up to 21.9 percent, ninth in the NHL. The Penguins rank sixth in the NHL in goals per game despite the power play lagging behind the 24.9% conversion rate of last season, suggesting the offense might not have peaked yet.
Since returning from injury, Crosby has picked up 22 points (7G-15A) in 13 games. “I think he’s getting better with each game that he’s played,” Coach Mike Sullivan said. “His impact on the games, I think, speaks for itself.”
Why Bet on Washington?
In that 4-3 loss to the Pens, Alex Ovechkin was held without a point. Lars Eller was the best player on the ice and scored twice for Washington, and Evgeny Kuznetsov added a third-period goal. In his first career start against the Penguins, young netminder Ilya Samsonov gave up one goal short side, one off his stick, one on a rebound and was victimized by a bad bounce late.
Tempers flared several times between the Penguins and Capitals, who met in the playoffs three of the past four years. They racked up 13 penalties and, despite all the star power, combined to go 0 for 9 on the power play.
Ovechkin has averaged 0.61 goals-per-game at this point in his career, ranking fifth in NHL history (minimum 300 games played), including an NHL-best 0.58 rate since his 30th birthday on Sept. 17, 2015.
Washington made a trade, acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from San Jose. Dillon had a goal and 14 points in 59 contests with the Sharks before the trade. His 51.70 shot attempt percentage (899 shot attempts for, 840 against) ranked second among San Jose defensemen at five-on-five. Dillon was on the ice for 40 goals at five-on-five, the third most on the Sharks this season.
With his contract set to expire and the Sharks realistically out of the playoff picture, he was shipped to Washington in exchange for a 2020 second round pick and 2021 third round selection. Dillon has played 62 playoff games in his career.
“Brenden is an experienced defenseman who plays a solid defensive game with a high compete level and physicality,” said Washington GM Brian MacLellan. “We felt it was important for us to add a player of his caliber to our defensive group.”
John Carlson is two points shy of passing Calle Johansson (474) for the most points in franchise history by a defenseman. Carlson has 55 assists this season, which leads all defensemen and ranks second in the NHL. Carlson reached the 50-assist total in his 54th game. He became the NHL’s fifth different defenseman in the last 30 years to reach the 50-assist mark in 54 games or fewer and first since Sergei Zubov in 1993-94.
Penguins vs Capitals Expert Prediction
Capitals 4, Penguins 3