NHL Betting: Capitals will punish Panthers

Pittsburgh Penguins - New Jersey Devils

It’s always an entertaining watch when New Jersey take on Pittsburgh and the Penguins can stamp their authority further down on the Metro division by potentially opening up a nine point lead. 

A 3-0 defeat at Consol Energy Center back in October would rather be forgotten by the Devils. About a month later on their own ice they skated to a 4-1 victory, so they have reason to be confident. 

The Pens are still feeling the repercussions of the "Battle of Boston" at the weekend. Brooks Orpik is the unfortunate one still banged up after being set upon by Shawn Thornton, whilst James Neal is serving what in my opinion was a highly lenient five game sentence for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head. 

Orpik's absence means that three of the Pens' top four defencemen are unavailable, with Paul Martin and Rob Scuderi already out - all of whom would play significant minutes against opponents' top lines and on the penalty kill. 

The Pens’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury might have to produce another great performance to stop an offence that is improving of late, particularly on the road. No complaints if Pittsburgh are for you, but I think there's a big chance here for the Devils, who are way out at 3.95.

Florida Panthers - Washington Capitals

Washington are riding a three game win streak into Florida and straight up I'm going to get the Alex Ovechkin mention out of the way after his ridiculous four goal performance against Tampa on Tuesday.

These are another pair of former division combatants separated by realignment and during that time the Capitals dominated proceedings more often than not. Unfortunately for Florida fans there remains a gap between the two franchises. The Panthers have had a decent start to the month with three wins from five but aren't really threatening to make the post-season.

Assets like Kris Versteeg have been allowed to depart for draft picks when they remain ranked 29th in both goals for per game and in overall goal difference. A perfect symbol of this lack of consistent offence is that Scottie Upshall is leading them in scoring - a man who in a ten year NHL career hasn't posted more than 32 points in a single season.

Even worse, only Upshall and former Capital Tomas Fleischmann are producing over a point ever other game. The Caps are a streaky team, but when running hot should have too much firepower for the Panthers.

Best Bet

Back the Washington Capitals to win at 2.30

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