Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, in action during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Washington. The Capitals won 5-2. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
- The Washington Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, April 29th, 2021
- The two East Division rivals have split the last four meetings
- Read below for the odds, game preview and betting pick
It’s a battle between two of the hottest teams in the NHL when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals clash at Capital One Arena on Thursday, April 29th (7:00 PM EST). Washington is riding a three-game winning streak, while Pittsburgh has won four of its past five. The game is being listed as a pick’em in the Penguins vs Capitals odds.
The Capitals are an impressive 15-6-2 on home ice this season. Washington is currently without superstar captain Alex Ovechkin, and Pittsburgh is missing Evgeni Malkin. Are Sidney Crosby and the Pens a good bet to garner a huge road victory against the Caps on Thursday?
Penguins vs Capitals Odds – April 29th
|Team||Moneyline at DraftKings||Spread||Total|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||-108||+1.5 (-286)||O 5.5 (-113)|
|Washington Capitals||-108||-1.5 (+235)||U 5.5 (-108)|
Odds as of Apr. 28
Caps Winning Without Ovechkin
The Capitals have won three straight games despite being without captain Alex Ovechkin for the two most recent contests. The Russian superstar suffered a lower-body injury on April 22nd against the Islanders and is listed as day-to-day. Head coach Peter Laviolette doesn’t expect the injury to linger into the playoffs.
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Daniel Sprong has slotted in seamlessly on the top line in place of Ovechkin, scoring three goals in the two games since Ovi got injured. Washington just wrapped up a three-game set with the Islanders in which they won all three games and outscored the Isles by an 8-3 margin.
UPDATE: Peter Laviolette on Alex Ovechkin’s injury via @JunksRadio: “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, where people should be wondering if he’s going to be in the playoffs or not. I don’t think it’s that. …I don’t think it’s anything long term.” #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) April 26, 2021
There’s a chance Ovechkin could play Thursday, but don’t feel obligated to fade the Caps if he can’t go. Washington is proving they can win without their superstar and went 3-0-1 when Ovechkin was in COVID-19 protocol back in January.
Penguins Chasing Division Title
Pittsburgh is now within one point of the first-place Capitals in the East Division after winning five of their past six games. The team did have some of its momentum halted with a 3-1 loss to Boston on Tuesday, however, the Pens were outchanced 21-14 at even-strength and failed to convert on three power-play opportunities,
The Penguins fall to the Bruins at home, 3-1. pic.twitter.com/wpQcTL8xTd
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 28, 2021
Much like the Capitals, the Penguins have been finding ways to win without one of their best players. Alternate captain Evgeni Malkin has been out with a lower-body injury since March 16th, but has been cleared for contact and will travel to Washington. The Pens have gone an impressive 14-5-2 during Geno’s absence.
Getting Malkin back against the Capitals would be a big boost, but newcomer Jeff Carter has been fitting in nicely on the second line as his replacement. The former LA Kings forward has scored three times in the past five games and gives the Pens a solid 1-2 punch down the middle along with Sidney Crosby.
Penguins vs Capitals Best Bet
This has been a fairly even rivalry of late, with the two teams alternating victories in the past four meetings. The last meeting was played in Pittsburgh on Feb. 25 and saw Washington dominate en route to a 5-2 victory. When you look at the season series overall, Pittsburgh has taken four of six matchups.
One important thing to consider when betting on this game is that it is being played at Capital One Arena, where fans were recently allowed back in the building at 10% capacity. The Pens have dominated at PPG Paints Arena, but they are only 12-11-1 on the road.
The Capitals have improved their defensive play and rank second in the NHL in offense (3.43 GF/GP), while the Pens have only scored two goals over their last two games and lost some of their mojo with the defeat to Boston. Bet on Washington continuing to feed off the home crowd and maintaining their lead over Pittsburgh in the division race.
Pick: Capitals ML (-108)
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years of experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.