Pittsburgh Penguin GM Jim Rutherford’s abrupt resignation stunned everyone. The new GM, Ron Hextall, arrives with Brian Burke as the new team president. Many in the NHL community see Rutherford’s departure as a revelation. The Penguins chances for another Stanley Cup is slipping further and further out of reach. In fact, Burke himself shared that view as a radio and TV commentator earlier this season. Poor defense remains a Pittsburgh concern. At Washington, the back end is always an issue. Since coach Barry Trotz left after the 2018 Stanley Cup, Washington lost its 200 foot structure with Alex Ovechkin significantly regressing on the backcheck without Trotz.
When: Sunday, February 14, 2021, 3 pm ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Capitals vs Penguins Odds
Washington Capitals -103 (View latest odds)
Pittsburgh Penguins -117 (View latest odds)
Game Total 6.5 (View latest odds)
Pittsburgh and Washington are two of the NHL’s top team brands. Each team is a recent Stanley Cup champion with Pittsburgh winning the Cup in 2016 and 2017 and Washington winning in 2018. Superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin draw TV eyeballs and big betting action.
Washington Capitals have lost three of their last four games, and four of their last five have gone over the total. The Caps’ record is 6-3-3 with 9-3 over the total. The Capitals are third in the East Division and ranked 4th for goal scoring and 2nd for the power play. Defensively Washington is 27th for goals against and 14th for penalty killing.
The Caps hired new head coach Peter Laviolette for one last Stanley Cup attempt. Laviolette has a Stanley Cup title and three conference championships in his career.
So far, new number one goaltender Vitek Vanecek has been effective with a .902 save percentage and 3.18 goals against average. Center Nicklas Backstrom leads Washington with six goals and 11 assists. Left wing Alex Ovechkin adds five goals and seven assists.
Pittsburgh Penguins have lost three of their last four games, with three of their previous five games going under the total. Pittsburgh stands at 5-5-1 and 7-3 over the total. They are 5th place in the East Division. Overall, Pittsburgh ranks 20th for goal scoring and 24th for the power play. Defensively Pittsburgh ranks 29th for goals against and 25th for the penalty kill.
The Pens’ open general manager position generated considerable interest. Ron Hextall arrives after earning high marks at Philadelphia, where fans and ownership ran out of patience with him. Hextall is much more appreciated since he departed. He left the Flyers with a strong core roster.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are still seen as a team with enough pieces to build around, but many have written them off as too old where it matters most.
Center Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins with four goals and five assists, but also with a minus four. A big concern is the combined save percentage of .867 for goaltenders Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith.
Capitals vs Penguins ATS
The Pittsburgh Penguins have five hockey betting payouts in their last six against the Capitals, with all six of those games going over the total. Pittsburgh has won five of their last seven home games with the Capitals as five of those games went over the total.
Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins Prediction
Best Bet: Pittsburgh Penguins -117
We’re betting on the Penguins. They will want to impress the new leadership and have little margin for error in this short season.