The best time of year is finally upon us: The NHL is in full swing.
Connor McDavid dangles, Andrei Vasilevskiy saves and Alex Ovechkin scores. Some things never change.
However, this season is full of nothing but changes. The divisions are reorganized, there is no travel beyond regions, but the Red Wings still stink.
Let us just focus on the hometown favorites for this article, or else it could get pretty lengthy. The rumor mill is ago, and seismic changes have already occurred in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
Hall of Fame General Manager, Jim Rutherford resigned from his position within the organization seemingly out of nowhere in early February. Mario Lemieux took it upon himself to be hands-on during the hiring process for the first time since the hiring of GM JR. After many qualified suitors sought the highchair, Lemeuix and co. hired Ron Hextall as general manager and Brian Burke as president of hockey operations.
Soon after, rumors spread like wildfire. Sidney Crosby is getting traded, Evgeni Malkin is getting traded, a wholesale of superstars is to begin a rebuild. This subject was touched on heavily in my “Too Many Stats” podcast which can be found on YouTube.
Nonetheless, word has gotten out that if the Penguins do not make the playoffs or have a dud of a run like the last two seasons, management is going to sit down with the Godsby and assess the situation.
If Crosby wants to win more Stanley Cups, send him to a contender, but if he wishes to retire a Penguin and prove that he can still compete for a Cup, then keep him where he is.
Rumor has it, he would go to the Colorado Avalanche, primarily because they are the best young team, GM Joe Sakic was Crosby’s idol and Nathan “MacDaddy” MacKinnon is his best friend. The stars are aligning, but forget that hoopla; it is time to win some money.
The Pittsburgh Penguins faced off against the Washington Capitals on Feb. 14 in PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh is 3-0 against the Caps this season and is fresh off their widest margin of victory all season, 6-3. On the other side, Washington is still a deep and competitive team with the best power play in the league.
The capitals did manage to steal a game on Tuesday. They were able to take down the penguins in a landslide, beating them by a wide margin.
There are eight matchups between these two squads this season. Based on the odds for Tuesday’s match, I am going to take the Penguins going into every matchup.
The Penguins came into Tuesday’s matchup favorites at -128. The Capitals are playing the unlikely role of an underdog at +110.
While Tuesday may not have went in Pittsburgh’s favor, they are still going to dominate Washington. They have already beaten this squad three times already. Why not make it four more?
History repeats itself, and in an NHL season when teams play one another eight or nine times in the regular season, it is typical for certain teams to have another’s “number.”
The Penguins sure do seem to have the Capitals’ number this season. Pittsburgh played an extremely strong game against them on Valentine’s Day and made a statement game win. Crosby has five points in three games against Washington this season, and his line has combined for 10 goals total.
This latest matchup set the table for their Feb. 23 rematch between these two squads.
Regardless of tonight’s outcome, history and the odds tell me that the Penguins have the advantage.
The line consisting of Crosby, Jake Guenztel and Bryan Rust have haunted Caps fans in their sleep for the last three years. Bet on it to happen again. Hot Take Jake likes Crosby over/under 0.5 goals (over) and the Penguins money-line.
The Capitals have lost four straight, and Pittsburgh looks to make it five. Shortly after, the Penguins will stay at home and play the New York Islanders.
Pittsburgh is coming off a split series against the Isles, both games ending 4–3. This time around, I believe it will be a different outcome.
Goaltending was not very good for Pittsburgh that mini-series, and the Penguins stars are getting hot. Malkin and Crosby are out making statements to the new management, and that is not good for opposing teams. The lines for NHL do not come out until one day before, but look for some of these Pittsburgh props.
Guenztel will record at least a goal in the Islanders series, Jason Zucker over 1.5 points and John Marino to also net a Geno.
Stay on top of NHL lines this year because they only come out the night before the game, and COVID-19 has been postponing games like crazy. So, sit down, shut up and hammer the over.