The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have been one of the most exciting rivalries in the NHL for the past decade, but will it live up to the hype if Sidney Crosby is not in the lineup?
Washington might not be the favorite, but they could have the edge on the road. See who we’re backing in our free NHL picks and predictions for Capitals vs. Penguins on Saturday, April 9.
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Capitals vs Penguins odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Penguins opened up as -150 home favorites and the line hasn’t budged, while the Capitals opened up as +125 road underdogs. The total opened up at 6 and hasn’t had any movement.
Capitals vs Penguins predictions
Predictions made on 4/08/2022 at 6:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Capitals vs Penguins game info
• Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
• Date: Saturday, April 9, 2022
• Puck drop: 3:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ABC, SN1
Capitals vs Penguins betting preview
Capitals: Garnet Hathaway F (Questionable), Carl Hagelin F (Out), Joe Snively F (Out).
Penguins: Sidney Crosby F (Questionable), Jason Zucker F (Questionable), Brock McGinn F (Out), Nathan Beaulieu D (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Capitals vs Penguins head-to-head record
Capitals: 4-3-3 SU, 33 goals for.
Penguins: 6-3-1 SU, 33 goals for.
Betting trend to know
The road side is 4-1 in the last five meetings between the two teams. Find more NHL betting trends for Capitals vs. Penguins.
Capitals vs Penguins picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins both have a lot to play for in this game, but it might matter just a tiny bit more for the home team as the Capitals are pretty much guaranteed a wild card spot in the first round of the playoffs.
To me, this adds pressure for the Penguins in this game where they are heavy home favorites. The Capitals have gotten the better of the Penguins lately as they are 2-1-0 in the season series. The Capitals are also 6-4-0 in their last ten games and the Pens are just 4-5-1.
One of the major concerns going into this matchup is if Sidney Crosby will play or not. The Penguins captain was ruled out of Thursday’s game against the Rangers due to a non-Covid related illness and he is questionable for Saturday’s game.
The Pens went on to get a shutout win against the Rangers after having 1.97 expected goals and 23 shots on goal, but they also went 0/3 on their power-play. It is clear that they need Crosby in the lineup.
The Caps are coming off of a huge 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning this past week. John Carlson had two goals and two assists, Evgeni Kuznetsov added two helpers, and Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist.
The Penguins are the better team defensively, however, they do have the edge in goaltending. Offensively, these teams are very similar. The Caps are averaging 3.21 goals per game and the Pens are right above them at 11th, scoring at a clip of 3.25 a contest.
With those stats aside, both teams have only scored six goals in their last three games. With Crosby out of the lineup, there is a huge offensive hole for the Penguins to fill. The Capitals have held their own against Pittsburgh all season and I think all the pressure is on the Penguins in this game.
The Capitals are coming in with momentum and I like them to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Capitals ML (+125 at BetMGM)
Tristan Jarry is the expected starter for Pittsburgh and throughout the entire season, he has been fantastic.
His team has done a solid job in front of him as the Penguins currently rank 5th in defensive proficiency, allowing only 2.65 goals against per game. The Capitals’ goaltending has been solid all season, but nowhere near as good as Jarry.
Ilya Samsonov is the expected starter for the Caps as he led them to a victory on Wednesday against the Lightning. Samsonov made 25 saves on the 28 total shots that he faced. On the season, he is 20-9-4 with a 2.95 GAA and .899 save percentage. He has been the worst of the two goalies, but sometimes you have to play the netminder that has done better for your team lately.
The Caps rank 13th in defensive proficiency, allowing 2.9 goals against per game. Both teams fall in the top half of the league when it comes to goal scoring, but the goals have been few and far between lately.
I think this contest is going to fall on the goaltending, and I can see this game being very tight since everything tends to be more defensive this time of year.
Prediction: Under 6 (-105 at BetMGM)
The Washington Capitals have won their past four straight road games, and the away team in this rivalry has won four of the past five meetings. I’ve watched both of these squads in their past couple of games and although the Pens may have played tougher competition, the Capitals have looked like the better team of late.
Without Crosby, I think the Capitals have a real advantage in this game. The Penguins have struggled on their power-play as of late, with their man advantage unit scoreless in the last three games.
Washington’s power-play looked great against Tampa, scoring two goals on five chances. The Caps have gone 50% on the power-play against the Pens in the season series and I think that special teams could be the difference in who comes out on top.
I really like the Capitals’ chances, especially with Samsonov feeling confident after beating the Lightning.
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