Penguins vs. Capitals: Pens Lousy Offense Makes 'Under' The Smart NHL Pick

David Lawrence

Thursday, October 29, 2015 2:42 PM GMT

The Penguins have won four of their last five games, but will they be able to stay hot against a streaking Washington side tonight? Let's review the betting odds inside as we serve our free NHL pick.

Momentum
The Capitals have played the fewest games in the Metropolitan Division so far with seven games but their 12 points is two fewer than the New York Rangers for top spot. That’s because they’ve started 6-1-0, which has included five straight wins heading into this contest. They’ve been money on the NHL odds. Washington returns after sweeping a three-game road trip through western Canada, so they will have plenty of momentum when they return to home ice.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has won four of its last five following a terrible start to the year but still hasn’t hit its stride in terms of playing to its maximum potential. The Penguins have lost two of their first three road games this season and will look to get back to .500 as the visiting team on Wednesday night.

 

Projected Starting Goalies
Pittsburgh’s 1.6 goals per game ranks 29th in the NHL and is pretty surprising considering the firepower they have up front led by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, David Perron and Chris Kunitz but they rank fourth in the NHL in goals allowed per game with a 2.0 average goals against thanks in big part to the strong play of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins starting netminder is 4-4-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .932 save percentage and should be back between the pipes versus Washington.

Fleury will have to be at his best opposite Braden Holtby for the Capitals, who has been excellent early on this season at 5-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA and .917 save percentage. Holtby has shown flashes of his elite potential early on this year and he should be fired up to play in front of the home fans in this rivalry game.

 

Outlook
With Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, TJ Oshie and Justin Williams up front it’s somewhat surprising that rising star Evgeni Kuznetsov leads the team in points but he has been an absolute beast up front for Washington and even with Backstrom in the lineup he remains locked on the top line between Ovechkin and Oshie. Washington is deeper up front than it has ever been and the fact that the team leads the NHL with an average of 4.1 goals per game is testament to that. Meanwhile, the Penguins have done a solid job in their own end but even with all of the firepower they have up front they have struggled to consistently find the back of the net. They managed to escape with close wins over Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and even Nashville but they will be in tough to beat the Capitals on tonight if they don’t exceed the 1.6 goals per game average they have put up so far. Pittsburgh’s stars will break out eventually but we don’t see it happening against a talented Washington team. The juice is a tad high here on the Capitals, so go with the under instead. It seems safe for our NHL picks as the Pens are not doing much offensively.

NHL Pick: Under 5 at BetOnline

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