NHL Picks: Take A More Dominant Capitals Team Against Penguins

Bruce Webster

Monday, December 14, 2015 12:59 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 12:59 PM GMT

The Washington Capitals meet the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Get the top value NHL picks from our capper and rake in profits.

Washington Capitals (20-6-2 SU, 14-14 PL, 9-15-4 OU) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (15-10-1-2 SU, 9-19 PL, 9-15-4 OU)
Lines: Washington -116, Pittsburgh +105
?Total: 5
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Free NHL Pick: Washington -108
Best Odds Offered By Heritage

 

The Washington Capitals come in having won eight of their last 10 games after beating Tampa Bay on the road by a 2-1 score on Saturday, while the Pittsburgh Penguins are off a tough 3-2 loss to Los Angeles on Friday night, which was their 3rd loss in four games. What have NHL odds makers released for us? Let's find out...

 

Holtby Does It Again For The Caps
Braden Holtby has been the best and most consistent goalie in the league this year and he once again proved why with a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday, in which he stopped 35 of 36 Lightning shots, to put his record at 9-1 in his last 10 starts. Holtby is now 18-5 on the year with a nice 1.91 GAA. His wins and GAA are tops in the league right now. Holtby should get the start here as well and he has struggled vs Pittsburgh in his career, going just 3-6 with a 2.63 GAA vs them. With their strong offense and with Holtby in goal, I have the Caps as the favorite in the East right now.

For the year, now Washington is 3rd in the league in goals allowed (2.2 gpg), 3rd in shots allowed (27.5 spg) and 8th in penalty kill (83.5%). In the win over the Lightning, the scoring came from Jay Beagle (4th) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (9th). The Caps were outshot 36-20 in the game, so they clearly did more with their shots than the Lightning did. Washington has been a strong offensive club this year as they come in ranked 5th in scoring, putting up 3.0 gpg, while also ranking 7th in shots per game (30.5 spg) and 3rd in power play conversions, converting on 23.3% of their chances. This is a complete team.

 

Penguins Playing Inconsistent Hockey Of Late
The Pittsburgh Penguins are not playing their best hockey of the year right now as they come in off a 3-2 home loss to Los Angeles and have now won just six of their last 15 games, after going 9-1 in their previous 10 games. They are struggling and it has been a little of their offensive and a little of their defensive struggles that have done them in. In the Pens last nine losses, they have scored more than two goals in just one of those games, which compares to scoring four goals or more in each of their six wins in their last 15 games. Sidney Crosby may be the root of their offensive struggles as he has just six goals on the year so far and is on pace for around 17, after scoring 28 and 36 the least two years.

At the other end of the ice we have Marc-Andre Fleury, who has allowed 34 goals in his last 13 starts (2.61 goals per start) after allowing just 11 total goals in his previous eight games, which translates to just 1.4 goals per start allowed over that stretch. He allowed three goals or more just three times in his first 11 starts, but has now allowed three or more seven times in his last 13 starts. Overall this year the Pens are 26th in the league in scoring, putting up 2.4 gpg and 27th in power play conversions (15.6%), while on the defensive end of the ice they have been strong, ranking 6th in goals allowed (2.3 gpg) and 5th in penalty kill (84.2%)    

 

Trends for Washington:
7-1 in their last eight vs. Eastern Conference
39-17 in their last 56 games playing on one day’s rest

 

Trends for Pittsburgh:
6-23 in their last 29 vs. the Metropolitan
3-8 in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a road winning percentage of greater than .600

 

Betting Analysis
For what it’s worth, let’s also note that the Caps have won their last five games on Monday, while the Pens have lost their last four on Monday. The Caps are also the more consistent team right now and they have the far better offense with the much better goalie. The Pens are not playing well right now and they clearly don’t have the offense to get much off of Holtby in this one. Caps stay hot, while the Pens continue to head the other way. We are taking the Caps for our NHL picks.

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