Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals might be in position to extend their season-long win streak when they host the rival Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. The Capitals are the -125 moneyline favorite with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins listed as a slight +105 underdog at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Capitals are 7-3 in their last 10 home games as well 8-2 in their last 10 home games during the month of January, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The Penguins typically fare decently at the Verizon Center, where they are are 5-5 over their last 10 visits.
The Penguins, who are 26-8-5 on the season, are contending with several key injuries, as well as a flu bug. Defenseman Kris Letang (illness), who’s critical to helping Pittsburgh generate an edge in offensive zone time, might miss the game. Illness could also affect RW Phil Kessel and D Trevor Daley.
The Penguins are likely to continue with Marc-Andre Fleury as their goaltender, since No. 1 goalie Matt Murray (lower body injury) has resumed practicing but isn’t expected to be ready to play on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh has gone in peaks and valleys this season. Curiously enough, the Penguins have been outscored 43-12 when they lose in regulation time, with five of those losses coming by at least four goals. If Crosby and his teammates fall into an early hole, they’re not likely to come back.
The Capitals are 26-9-5 on the season and are currently on a six-game win streak. Ovechkin is coming off a one-goal, two-assist effort in Washington’s road victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday. Washington could also be in line to have forward T.J. Oshie (upper body injury) back in the lineup.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is enjoying a hot streak, with four shutouts over his last 12 games. In 15 career games against Pittsburgh, Holtby has a 2.59 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
The teams are part of a three-team logjam for second place in the Metropolitan Division, behind the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The total has gone over in seven of Pittsburgh’s last 10 road games against their division. The total has gone over in only three of Washington’s last 10 home games against their division.