Washington Capitals (-110) at Pittsburgh Penguins (-110, 5 o/u)
For all the veteran leadership on the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-2, 3-1 home), it was rookie goalie Matt Murray who ended up stealing the headlines in Game 3, and also the series lead. Now the NHL’s top team, the Washington Capitals (5-4, 2-2 road), will have to solve this 21-year-old in Game 4 tonight at the CONSOL Energy Center (8:00 PM Eastern) or risk heading home in a 3-1 hole.
Murray has been outstanding filling in for veteran Marc-Andre Fleury, and he’s a huge reason his team has a 2-1 series lead. In Game 3, he had a career-high 47 saves in the 3-2 home victory over the Capitals, improving to 5-1 in the postseason. His 47 saves were the most by a Penguins goalie in a playoff game that didn’t go to overtime.
“I want to win,” Murray told the Associated Press. “On a personal level, I think it really doesn’t matter. Everything else is noise to me.”
The Penguins are red-hot coming into this one, having won 20 of their last 24 games.
The Capitals, on the other hand, are fighting the ghosts of the past, and it’s starting to show. Despite new additions that were supposed to increase the Caps’ scoring, Washington’s offense continues to go ice-cold for long stretches. Game 3 marked the second time this postseason that the Caps have lost a game in which they had over 40 shots on net and out-shot the other team by more than 20.
Washington was the second-highest scoring team during the regular season, averaging three goals per game. Against the Penguins, however, they have been held to 2.3 goals per game while playmaker Alex Ovechkin has found the net just once in those meetings.
The Pens’ solid defense against the Caps has seen the team dominate the recent head-to-head; Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in its last five games against Washington, and 7-3 SU in its last ten games at home against the Capitals.
Pick: Penguins (-110).
(Photo Credit: Dan4th Nicholas (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/])