Penguins favored against the Capitals for remainder of series

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will be attempting to push the Washington Capitals to the brink of elimination in their second-round playoff series when they host the Presidents’ Cup winners in Game 4 on Wednesday as small -120 betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Pittsburgh handed Washington their eighth loss in the past 14 games in Game 3, getting past the Capitals by a 3-2 score on the strength of a 47-save performance by rookie goaltender Matt Murray, who has been tagged with just one loss in his past 13 starts heading into Wednesday night’s Capitals vs. Penguins betting matchup at Consol Energy Center.

The loss adds to existing frustration for the Capitals, who dropped to 3-6 in their past nine games when outshooting opponents, including their past two in which they have tallied 40 or more shots on goal.

The Capitals’ recent swoon also adds to the growing pressure they face to fulfill their promise in the postseason after coming up short in each of their past four second-round appearances, and failing to reach the Eastern Conference Final since making their sole Stanley Cup Final appearance back in 1999.

For the Penguins, their win in Game 3 extends a hot streak that has seen them claim victory in 20 of their past 24 contests, lifting them past Washington to -130 favorites on the NHL series prices, and to +260 chalk on the odds to win the Stanley Cup.

While the Capitals finished a full 16 points ahead of Pittsburgh during the regular season, the Penguins have held the edge in head-to-head meetings, going 6-3 over their past nine matchups despite outscoring their Metropolitan Division rivals by a slim 28-24 margin.

Five of the last six meetings between these two clubs have been settled by a single goal, however the total has played UNDER just twice over their past nine clashes, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

Suspensions and injuries have also taken their toll on both clubs, with Penguins blueliner Olli Maatta sidelined indefinitely as a result of an illegal hit by Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, who continues to miss time after being suspended for three games.

Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang will also miss Game 4 after being handed a one-game suspension for a hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3.

Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed overtime but grabbed a 2-1 lead in their second-round series with the New York Islanders with a 5-4 overtime win on Tuesday night. That ended a three-game road losing streak against the Islanders for Tampa Bay, and will strengthen their odds on the NHL series prices which had sat at -130.

The Lightning and the Islanders will next meet in Game 4 of their series in Brooklyn on Friday.

Favored Rangers seek end to home-ice hex against the rival Islanders

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While the teams’ records can be thrown out when the NHL’s two city rivals meet, the New York Rangers do take a strong record in back-to-back games into their clash against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

The Rangers, who are relying on goalie Antti Raanta to hold the fort with superstar Henrik Lundqvist (lower body injury) sidelined, are only 2-7 straight-up in their last nine home games against the Islanders, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

However, the Rangers should have some motivation after an overtime defeat on Tuesday against the also-ran New Jersey Devils. In fact, the Rangers, home favorites for Wednesday’s game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, are 7-3 in their last 10 games when they were playing the second of back-to-back contests.

The Islanders, who are 33-26-12 on the season, should be ready to play desperate hockey since they have had a three-day break and are only 1-4 in their last five games. Coach Doug Weight has shuffled his lines to stimulate some offense, reuniting captain John Tavares (nine points over his last 10 games) with his regular left wing, Andrew Ladd.

The Islanders, who should have fresh legs, could also get a spark in the offensive zone from recent rookie call-up Josh Ho-Sang.

The break might also be a boon for Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who has an unsightly 3.46 goals-against average and .893 save percentage so far this month. Some of that can be put down to the recent play by the Islanders, who are also 3-7 in their last 10 divisional road games.

The Rangers are 45-24-4 on the season, but just 5-7 across their last 12 games, which has dropped them into fourth in the Metropolitan Division. Veteran winger Rick Nash ended a nine-game goal drought against the Devils, but has been shut out so far this season against the Islanders. The Rangers also finished the New Jersey game strongly, leveling 16 shots on goal in the third period.

Raanta is having a strong month with a 2.13 GAA and .924 save percentage. The Rangers are 1-4 in their last five divisional home games.

The total has gone under in three consecutive Islanders’ games for bettors on the NHL odds. The total has gone over in six of the last nine games where the Rangers were favored at home against the Islanders.

Ovechkin, Capitals Road Favorites Against Flyers on Wednesday Night

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The law of averages and both teams’ recent play would suggest Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are due for a better fate in Philadelphia.

The Capitals are a -165 betting favorite against the +135 underdog Philadelphia Flyers with a 5.5-goal total in their NHL betting matchup on Wednesday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Washington won 5-0 on January 15 when the Metropolitan Division rivals last met, but that was at the Verizon Center and the Flyers are 8-2 straight-up in their last 10 home games against the Capitals with any moneyline, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

Presumptive starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth has often fared well against Washington, particularly during the 2016 playoffs.

The Flyers are also 7-3 in their last 10 games at home as an underdog of +135 to +500 on the moneyline. Their price on the moneyline offers much more value than the Capitals’ does.

Washington, which is 39-12-7 this season, will be aiming to avoid its first three-loss skid of the season. Ovechkin has traditionally had the Flyers’ number over his career, as the future Hall of Famer has 31 goals and 18 assists for 49 points in 43 career games against Philly.

Washington is one of the NHL’s deepest teams offensively and, in Braden Holtby, are well spoken for in goal.

The Capitals are 7-3 in their last 10 games on the road as a favorite of -135 to -500 moneyline.

Philadelphia, which is 28-24-7, is at a point of the season where it needs to play desperate to stay in the hunt for a wild card playoff spot. The Flyers, who are only 3-7 in their last 10 home games against their division, have several key players itching to bust out offensively. Captain and No. 1 center Claude Giroux has only two points in his last 10 games and offensive defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has only six over his last 15, three of which came last Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

If Neuvirth is sharp, the Flyers have a chance.

The total has gone over in six of the Capitals’ last 10 divisional road games, but has gone under in four of their past six away contests (with one push). The total has gone under in six of the Flyers’ last 10 home games overall.