NHL Picks: Penguins vs. Captitals

David Lawrence

Sunday, February 3, 2013 2:47 PM GMT

These two enter Sunday’s contest as one of the worst teams in the NHL right now after just two wins in their first eight games. Can they spring an upset or will the Pens keep their momentum going?

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals produced one of the better rivalries in the NHL in recent years but the two teams appear to be heading in different directions. While the Pens are still Stanley Cup contenders, the Capitals have fallen a few pegs. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins can win because…

They’ve got some momentum going. The Pens started the season just 2-2-0 and some people were already starting to ask questions. However, they’ve responded with wins in three of their last four and they’ve looked particularly strong in the process.

The Pens beat New Jersey 5-1 on Saturday afternoon in what was their highest scoring output in six games. Fans were a little nervous as their offense has produced just 10 goals in their previous five games but an explosive effort against the typically stingy Devils is encouraging. That comes on the heels of a 3-0 shutout of the New York Rangers as well, so the Pens come into this game in great shape.

Their defense and goaltending definitely deserve praise as they’ve allowed just one goal in the last two games. They’ve been very good on the road this season as they are 4-1-0 in away games compared to 1-2-0 at home. The Pens are more than capable of handling a mediocre Caps squad and extending their winning streak to three.

The Washington Capitals can win because… 

They are starting to get into the swing of things. The Caps started the season with four straight losses but are 2-2-1 since. While that’s not great, it is better than their opening four contests. In reality, they were probably just a bit rusty after the lockout. More importantly, people making their sports picks should note that the Caps have been very competitive – even in their recent losses. 

The Caps last five games have all been decided by the exact margin of 3-2. While they’ve only won two of them, it shows that this team has been very close in the process. 

They’ll come into this game a little fresher than the Pens as Washington has been off since Friday. The Pens played on Saturday morning and have to make the quick turnaround and head to New Jersey. 

Live NHL Betting Odds for all of the games at the SBR Odds Page~

[gameodds]7/218203/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & Pick 

The NHL odds makers list the Pens as a small favorite for this contest and it’s awful tempting to take them. The Capitals have been struggling with just two wins in eight games. Their offense is sluggish and their goaltending is just OK. The Pens are better at every place on the ice and as long as they aren’t fatigued from a big win on Saturday, they’ll get another one on Sunday. 

Pittsburgh is the better team here. Lay the small amount of juice with them for your NHL Picks.

NHL Picks: Penguins -120 at Pinnacle Sports

Also, check out my picks of the day here!