Gary | Tue 02/05/2017 - 18:26 EDT

Capitals look to strike against Crosby-less Penguins

Capitals look to strike against Crosby-less Penguins
Do the Pittsburgh Penguins have enough talent up and down their lineup to compete the Presidents' Trophy winners devoid of their best player?

By Angelo Montilla

Here are a few NHL betting lines to consider with odds courtesy of Bovada.

Washington Capitals (-125) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (+105)

Penguins Caps

Sidney Crosby’s absence from Game 4 has played a huge part in why the money has been pouring in on the Washington Capitals, who can tie their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

The Capitals, who trail the best-of-seven series 2-1 heading into Game 4, enter action as the -125 favorites as they will face a Penguins team without Crosby. The Penguins’ captain took a nasty cross-check to the head and was forced to leave Game 3 with a concussion.

Despite rallying from two goals down to force overtime, the Penguins fell 3-2. The +105 Penguins will be hungry to regain their two-game edge with a victory at PPG Paints Arena Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh’s offense, with Crsoby, had been firing from all cylinders and leads the NHL in goals for per game with an average of 4.00. However, with Crosby missing from the equation, expect Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan to get creative with his lines in order to try fill the gaping void.

NHL playoff odds

While this may be the perfect opportunity for the Capitals to claw their way back into this series, they’ll have to once again solve goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been absolutely marvellous in relief of the injured Matt Murray. Fleury has posted a 2.44 goals-against average in the playoffs and is a big reason why the Pens have been able to get to this point.

The total goals projection for Wednesday’s contest is set at 5, but don’t expect this to be a high-scoring affair. Even without Crosby, the Penguins are deep enough to come out on top and that’s what they’ll do in Game 4 with their captain watching from the sidelines.

Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins (+105) and the under (5)

Edmonton Oilers (-120) vs. Anaheim Ducks (Even)

Ducks Oilers

There’s no panic among the Edmonton Oilers despite letting the Anaheim Ducks back in their Western Conference semifinal. The two Pacific Division foes will clash in a crucial Game 4 matchup on Wednesday night as the Oilers host the Ducks at Rogers Place.

The Oilers, who still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, enter action on Wednesday night as the -120 favorites. The Oilers have gone 2-2 on home ice in the post-season — something to keep in mind as the club prepares for the fourth game of this series.

If there’s one player that may cause the Oilers a few headaches once again, it’s Ducks’ forward Jakob Silfverberg, who is riding a three game point streak. Silfverberg had his biggest game of the playoffs in Game 3, netting two goals and an assist for the Ducks, who head to Edmonton as even underdogs on Wednesday night.

The Oilers were able to win the first two games despite getting crushed in the faceoff circle. That caught up to the young club in Game 3 as the Ducks won 37 draws, equating to 57.8 percent of the faceoffs. In Game 2, Anaheim won nearly 64 percent of the faceoffs taken. 

The Ducks also dominated in the blocked shots department, recording 24 in their last victory. In comparison, the Oilers only had 11 blocked shots.

The Ducks have excelled in the underdog role this season, posting a 17-11-5 in situations where they weren’t favored to win.

Two of the last three games in this series have produced over outcomes, both times total goals reaching eight and nine. Expect much of the same in Game 4 as Bovada has set a projected total goals line of 5.5 — a mark that will be exceeded once again with the Oilers grabbing a 3-1 series lead.

Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-120) and the over (5.5)

Results / FixturesNHL

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