Washington vs. Pittsburgh, 05/03/2018 19:00 EDT, Score: 1 - 3

Money Line: -153 Pittsburgh

Sportsbook: PinnacleSports

Result: Win

10* Pittsburgh (7:05 ET): There's a real "sense of irony" here in what I've seen called the "best final eight (teams)" in Stanley Cup Playoff history. Of the four matchups, three saw the team with the home ice advantage come in as the betting favorite. That's not uncommon, in fact, normally one would assume that the team w/ the home ice edge would be favored to win the series. However, the way things stand now, the series underdog is currently leading all four series! That includes this one where Pittsburgh, the one favorite that did NOT have home ice advantage in its series, is down two games to one to the Capitals. Tonight is a virtual "must-win" as they are at home. I'll take 'em.

Game 1 was certainly a familiar "script" for the Capitals in what has been a very one-sided rivalry (at least come playoff time) w/ the Penguins. At home, they blew a two-goal lead in the third period, giving up three straight goals in a six-minute span. Remember, of the 10 previous playoff series between these teams, Pittsburgh has won NINE of them. Each of the last two seasons, we have seen the Pens eliminate the Caps en route to winning the Stanley Cup. However, given the way the series opener played out, perhaps its more surprising to see Washington bounce back to take the last two games. Game 2 again saw them take a two-goal lead (early), only this time they expanded it rather than blow it, and end up winning 4-1. It was another four-goal effort here in Game 3 and this time it was a Caps' rally as they scored the only two goals in the third period to win 4-3 (Alex Ovechkin had the game winner w/ less than two minutes in regulation).

It's not w/o sound reasoning that Pittsburgh was favored to win this series. They had a better regular season goal differential than Washington, were #1 in even strength goals the second half of the season and own the league's top power play unit. That's in additon to "owning" this rivalry through the years. The Capitals were actually outscored at even strength in the 1st round series w/ Columbus, but got nine power play goals to overcome that. Neither PP has been that effective in this series, but I expect Pittsburgh's to "wake up" sooner rather than later as its just 2 for its last 19, which is highly irregular. Also, the Pens are 28-10 this season after allowing 4+ goals the previous game. I just can't see them dropping both home games considering they are 32-11-2 here for the season (average 3.6 goals per game). Finally, there's the fact Washington is going to be w/o forward Tom Wilson, who was suspended for the next three games due to a vicious hit he levied in the last game, which broke the jaw of rookie Zach Aston-Reese. 10* Pittsburgh

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