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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.

Predators take 2-1 lead into Game 4 vs. Ducks as clear betting favorites

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As great as their record at home in the playoffs is, the Nashville Predators also consistently take care of business when installed as a big favorite, be it home or away.

The Predators are -140 betting favorites against the +120 underdog Anaheim Ducks with a five-goal total in their Game 4 matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Nashville is 10-0 straight-up in its last 10 home playoff games and the OddsShark NHL Database also reveals that the team is 12-3 in their last 15 games as favorite of -135 to -500 on the moneyline. Eight of the last nine games within that sample have gone under. Nashville is also 5-2 SU in its last seven home games against Anaheim, including a win on Tuesday that gave it a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Final.

Anaheim, who is 13-7 overall in its last 20 games, faces a virtual must-win situation. The Ducks will need to do a better job screening and obscuring the sight lines of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne than they did during Game 3. The trend in the series has been that Anaheim, whose forward corps is led by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Jakob Silfverberg, has been getting fewer shots on goal and fewer shot attempts than Nashville. Perry scored in Game 3, but had only two total shots.

John Gibson will start in goal for Anaheim, which will be missing Kevin Bieksa, Patrick Eaves and Logan Shaw due to injuries.

Nashville, which is 12-8 overall in its last 20 games, might well be the smart-money choice to win the Stanley Cup even though they had the fewest points in the regular season of any playoff team.

The Predators have a deep cadre of offensively astute defensemen in Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban. During Game 3 on Tuesday, the Predators’ defensemen took more shots on goal (21) than the entire Ducks team. Filip Forsberg has scored in all three games of the series and has a total of 13 shots on goal.

While the Predators seem to have all the momentum, Anaheim has lost back-to-back games only twice within its last 30 games overall.

The total has gone over in five of Anaheim’s last seven games on the road heading into the Game 4 matchup on Thursday. The total has gone under in nine of Nashville’s last 12 home games, with two pushes. Overall, the team scoring the first goal is 48-25 during the playoffs this year.

Pittsburgh Penguins Game 3 betting favorites facing the Senators in Ottawa

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Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins keep losing players without being any worse for wear, but a general assumption of that continuing could boost prices on the underdog Ottawa Senators.

The Penguins are a -130 moneyline favorite against the +110 underdog Senators with a 5-goal total in their Game 3 matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Over the last five seasons the Penguins are 7-4 straight-up in 11 games as a road favorite during the month of May, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. While some offensively gifted teams can get frustrated by the suffocating defensive tactics deployed in playoff hockey, the Penguins have had seven of their last nine games in May go UNDER and have managed to go 5-4 in those contests.

The Eastern Conference final is tied 1-1 heading into the Game 3 matchup, with the two teams having combined for a paltry four goals. Pittsburgh has also come away with injuries to D Justin Schultz (shoulder) and RW Bryan Rust (upper body). Ottawa could have LW Viktor Stalberg (lower body) back as it looks to generate more offense.

The Penguins, 13-7 in their last 20 games overall, did not score during the first two periods of either of the series’ first two games as they struggled to solve Ottawa’s 1-3-1 defensive alignment. It was not for lack of trying, as Crosby and Malkin’s respective lines generated a lot of shots and effectively played keepaway.

If Schultz is unable to play, Pittsburgh will be ever more reliant on D Olli Maatta to help create offensive rushes that negate Ottawa’s trapping techniques.

The Senators, 10-10 in their last 20 games overall, had just 29 even-strength shot attempts in Game 2, when they were shut out and barely tested Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. However, they are 6-3 in their last nine home games as an underdog of +110 or more on the moneyline.

The change of venue to the Canadian Tire Centre means Ottawa’s most reliable offensive players such as RW Bobby Ryan, C Kyle Turris and C Jean-Gabriel Pageau will have more favorable line matchups. And, of course, Ottawa has an X-factor with playmaking defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Ottawa is 9-1 over its last 10 home games against Metropolitan Division teams, but trends such as that are hard to sustain in the parity-driven NHL. The total has gone UNDER in these teams’ last four meetings.