The Pittsburgh Penguins have started the 2021 season with a pair of discouraging losses. On Sunday, they host the Washington Capitals who are 2-0 and could go 4-0 with a pair of wins against a Penguins team that is having issues in net.
Pittsburgh has allowed 11 goals in two games to start the NHL betting season and had to pull starting goalie Tristan Jarry in the first period on Friday. It hasn’t been a pretty start for Pittsburgh, who finished just four points shy of the Metro Division title a season ago.
NHL odds have the home team as a -120 favorite with the total opening at 5.5 shaded heavily to the Over.
Here are our free picks and predictions for Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins for Sunday, January 17, with puck drop at 12 noon ET.
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Preview
Capitals: Michal Kempny D (Out).
Penguins: Kasperi Kapanen F (Questionable), Zach Aston-Reese F (Out).
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Betting Trend to Know
The Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Capitals vs. Penguins.
The Penguins have failed to play a full 60 minutes this year and are not getting any help in the goaltending department. Starter Tristan Jarry is 0-2 and has allowed nine goals on 31 shots in two matchups with the Flyers. He was pulled halfway through the first period on Friday and we wouldn’t be surprised if he sat this one out.
Pittsburgh has started flat both games, allowing five goals in the game’s first 20 minutes while also giving up three powerplay goals on nine shorthanded situations. They directed more pucks at the net and out-chanced Philadelphia in both games but lost due to poor play over short stretches of time.
Washington took both games in its series against Buffalo, showing some scoring touch in the first game (six goals) and some shutdown defense in the second (one goal allowed).
If Washington gets up early, it will be a tough defensive team to mount a comeback against, and with the Penguins possibly worrying about starting 0-3 (and maybe 0-4) we’re backing the team playing with more confidence. Pittsburgh should not be a favorite in this spot.
PREDICTION: Washington ML (+103)
The Penguins have given up 11 goals on 45 shots to begin the year. Jarry owns a forgettable 7.57 goals-against average while backup Casey DeSmith didn’t play an NHL game last season. The offense has potted a powerplay goal in each game and will have to carry the load if the Penguins continue to allow early goals.
The Capitals followed a six-goal performance on Thursday with a two-goal outing on Friday but were one of the better Over teams a year ago. Last season, the Caps finished the year 43-24-1 O/U, which was the best mark in the league.
Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov didn’t look that impressive in the 6-4 win versus Buffalo and is only entering his second year in the league. He could be facing a desperate Pittsburgh team with a lot to lose.
Both these clubs played three times last year, with the Over hitting in all three matches as the Capitals scored 14 goals while the Penguins tallied nine in the trio of matchups. This total will close at 6, so jump on it as soon as you can.
PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-125)
Capitals vs Penguins Betting Card
- Washington ML (+103)
- Over 5.5 (-125)
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