Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Game 7
Date and Time: Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
NHL Playoff Odds
Penguins vs. Capitals Game 7 TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network
Where in the heck did that come from? All series long, the Capitals always felt like they were just barely skating by when they were getting past the Pens, but all of a sudden on Monday night in Pittsburgh, they came out firing on all cylinders and won 5-2 in a matchup that probably wasn't as close as the final score would suggest.
Somehow, after 10 games in which their offense did basically whatever they wanted to do in this postseason, the Penguins managed just a total of 18 shots on goal against Braden Holtby. Meanwhile, it was also Marc-Andre Fleury's worst game of the playoffs as well, stopping just 21-of-26 shots in Game 6.
Is it concerning for the Capitals that Alex Ovechkin was -1 and didn't log a single point in spite of the team's five goals? Sure. But Barry Trotz has made it clear that Ovie is a third line guy right now, and that has opened up some real doors for guys like Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams to really come up with some big moments. Burakovsky scored twice in Game 6, while Nicklas Backstrom picked up his sixth goal of the postseason.
4 – The number of giveaways which the Capitals had in Game 6.
There are any number of stats that we could have used to showcase just how good this team was in Game 6 in the 'Burgh. +7 in giveaways. +4 in takeaways. +6 in hits. +8 in shots. Jay Beagle going 11-4 in the faceoff dot. John Carlson ripping off seven shots on goal, most of which came from the point.
But the giveaways are really particularly crucial. Has Holtby had a good series? Absolutely not. But there are plenty of times that his own team has let him down more than he's let himself down. Even in Game 6, the sloppy moments were the ones where the Vezina contender was at his worst, and if this team can't figure out how to cut out its turnovers more consistently, it'll lose Game 7.
Penguins vs. Capitals Game 7 Free Picks
The common thought here is that this absolutely has to be Washington's time. This iteration of Pittsburgh in its current form isn't as good as last year's Stanley Cup team in spite of its great form through this opening portion of the playoffs, and if the Caps can't win now, when are they ever going to win? The fitting conclusion would have Ovechkin scoring his first ever playoff overtime goal to win the entire series for the Capitals.
Keep dreaming, Capitals fans.
The bottom line in this series is that Pittsburgh has been the better of the two teams. It's gotten the better goaltending. It's gotten the better forechecking. It's been more aggressive. It's been better on special teams. It's stars are playing like stars.
Sure, there was a bad night at the office at home on Monday night. It's going to happen from time to time. But these Penguins know exactly what this is like. They've won Game 7s, they've played games on the grandest of stages, and most importantly, they just have that pedigree of champs. Washington? The pedigree of underachievers.
Until proven otherwise, we're betting against the Capitals in this spot 100 times out of 100.
Penguins vs. Capitals Game 7 Pick: Play Pittsburgh at BookMaker.eu
Penguins vs. Capitals Game 7 Score Prediction: Penguins 5, Capitals 3