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Capitals home betting favorites against rival Penguins on Wednesday night

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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.

USA Hockey, women’s players to meet Monday in Philadelphia

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USA Hockey and representatives of the women’s national team will meet Monday to discuss a wage dispute that could lead to players boycotting the upcoming world championships.

John Langel, a lawyer for the players, tells The Associated Press that they’ll meet with USA Hockey officials in Philadelphia two days before the scheduled start of training camp. Players announced Wednesday they’d boycott camp and the tournament unless significant progress is made in negotiations on what they hope is a four-year contract.

The International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship begins March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan. The U.S. is the defending champion and has won six of the past eight world championships.

USA Hockey and players traded barbs Friday over demands but agreed to meet to further discussions.

Players are seeking a deal that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. USA Hockey has said it is not in the business of employing players but is still hoping the players picked for the world championships are on the ice when it begins.

Standout forward Hilary Knight, who is expected to attend the meeting after playing in the National Women’s Hockey League final Sunday, said Friday that it was her hope that USA Hockey would “reach out to our lawyers and present something that’s worth sitting down to the table for.”

After players called numbers released by USA Hockey “patently false,” fellow star Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said, “I just think they need to come to the table and let’s talk about it.”

Players have said USA Hockey pays them nothing outside the Olympic period and $1,000 a month for the six months leading up to the Games.

Knight, Lamoureux-Davidson and twin sister Monique Lamoureux-Morando, captain Meghan Duggan, Kacey Bellamy and Kendal Coyne are scheduled to take part in the meeting on the players’ side. A USA Hockey spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for who will represent the organization at the meeting Monday.

 

Crosby, Penguins road betting favorites at Flyers for Wednesday night

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Despite multiple injuries on defense, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will try to maintain their mastery of Metropolitan Division opponents when they take on the rival Philadelphia Flyers on the road on Wednesday night.

Although they are just coming back from a road trip through western Canada, the Penguins are a -150 betting favorite against the +120 underdog Flyers with a 5.5-goal total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Pittsburgh is 9-3 straight-up over its last 12 games against fellow Metropolitan clubs, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, as well as 9-4 as a road favorite in the month of March over the last five seasons.

The Penguins are 43-16-9 overall, including 7-3 across their last 10 games. Pittsburgh has managed to close the gap on the Washington Capitals for first overall in the NHL even though eight of their players – four defensemen and four forwards – are now injured. Defenseman Mark Streit (lower body) was hurt blocking a shot against the Calgary Flames on Monday, joining an injury list on the back end that includes Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley.

With Crosby and his wings Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary, and Evgeni Malkin helming a strong second scoring line, the Penguins are as gifted at puck possession as any NHL team. They will also try to take advantage of a vulnerable Flyers penalty kill that has been scored on in seven of their last 12 opportunities.

Starting goalie Matt Murray will likely get the call for the Penguins, who are 5-5 in their last 10 road games as a favorite with a -125 to -500 moneyline.

The Flyers are 31-29-8, including 4-6 in their last 10 games. The main question with the Flyers, who have lost three in a row, is how motivated a team of veterans, such as C Claude Giroux and LW Jakub Voracek, will be after those losses left them even farther adrift of the pack chasing an Eastern Conference wild card playoff berth. The power play has also been problematic, as Philadelphia has converted just two of its last 26 chances.

Michal Neuvirth might get the call in goal for the Flyers, who are 4-6 in their last 10 games as a home underdog. Steve Mason has been busy lately and was also lit up in his only appearance this season against the Penguins.

The total has gone under in seven of these teams’ last 10 meetings in Philadelphia, according to the betting trends for the matchup. The total has gone under in seven of the Penguins’ last 10 road games. The total has also gone under in eight of the Flyers’ last 10 home games, with one push.