Will Ovechkin show up to Caps-Pens series?
Pittsburgh secured a much-needed split in Washington, but can the momentum carry over to the Consol Energy Center for tonight’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals?
The Penguins and Capitals drop the puck at 8 p.m. ET after a pair of nip-and-tuck affairs in the nation’s capital. Although T.J. Oshie’s hat trick propelled the Presidents’ Trophy winners to a 4-3 overtime triumph on Thursday, the Steel City’s finest responded with a 2-1 victory over the weekend to even the series.
Handicappers at online sports book Bovada.lv list the host Pens as 1.5-goal favorites this evening. Barry Trotz’s team, which could be missing key defenseman Brooks Orpik, enters as a +120 underdog. The over/under total is set at five tallies.
Orpik faces a possible suspension following his Game 2 hit on Pittsburgh’s Olli Maatta, who barely saw four minutes of ice time. That’s a particularly dicey proposition for a club that allowed goalie Braden Holtby to get pelted by a combined 80 shots through six-plus periods. The Penguins had another 38 attempts blocked, too.
Not surprisingly, coach Mike Sullivan wants to keep pushing the pace with Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist – while continuing to clamp down on Alexander Ovechkin. Washington’s dynamic power forward owns just one point in the last seven meetings with the Pens. He must register an impression early in tonight’s proceedings, because the tempo won’t relent for 60 minutes – or longer.
MONDAY NHL FREE PICK: CAPITALS/PENGUINS OVER 5 GOALS