Like every other major sport in the world, hockey draws in a lot of new fan based on the play of its superstars. It’s fair to say that Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals have done more than their fair share to excite hockey fans over the past decade. The major difference between these two great stars is that Crosby has had his hands on the Stanley Cup, while Ovechkin has never really come close. The Capitals have been a great offensive power during the time that the big Russian has been there, but it has been their defensive frailties that have let them down time and again once the postseason gets underway. Coach Barry Trotz appears to have changed all of that, and the Caps now possess what is arguably the most balanced team in the league. They are the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup this season, but in order to do so, they are going to have to get past a Penguins team that seems to be rounding into form at just the right time. This series has all the makings of a classic, and you can wager on it at our MyBookie.ag NHL Odds page.
Penguins vs Capitals NHL Playoffs 2nd Round Series Betting Guide
Second-round preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals https://t.co/hCcL8pzzdF
— ESPN NHL coverage (@ESPN_NHL) April 25, 2016
Why bet on the Penguins to win the series
The Penguins season took a turn for the better when a coaching change was made back at the end of 2015. It took a moment to get rolling under new head coach Mike Sullivan, but once that roll began, the Penguins started to look unbeatable. They ended the season with the 4th best overall record in the league, and also had a goal differential of +42, which was second best. The general consensus was that they would have a tough fight in the opening round of the playoffs against the New York Rangers, but the Pens blew them away in 5. Pittsburgh took 2 of 3 from the Caps in the regular season series, including a win in the nation’s capital.
Why bet on the Capitals to win the series
The Washington Capitals were far and away the best team in the NHL in the regular season, and were thoroughly deserving of their President’s Trophy win. That will all mean nothing, though, if they do not end the year with a Stanley Cup championship. This team has it all, and are certainly built to go all the way. Ovechkin posted his 7th 50-goal season in the NHL, and the team put together the best goal differential in the league at +59. They were either first or second in almost all of the major stats, and do not appear to have any real flaws.
Expert Pick and Series Prediction
For many, this series would have made a fitting Eastern Conference Final, and the general consensus is that the winner of this one will represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final. While I initially likes the Caps to win the conference, I have been very impressed by how the Penguins have played over the past couple of months. Momentum is often everything in sports, and the Penguins have it.
My final prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins in 7.