1. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie provided the offense for the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, but if not for Braden Holtby they would not have been able to get the win. Holtby was the best player on the ice in the Capitals’ 2-1 victory, stopping 41 of the 42 Pittsburgh Penguins shots he faced. It was by far Holtby’s best game of the season since his season-opening shutout. He has struggled a bit over the first month and entering play on Wednesday had allowed at least three goals in seven of his previous nine appearances. That includes 12 total goals in his previous three appearances. On Wednesday night he once again looked like the top-tier goalie that he is.
2. Colton Sissons, Nashville Predators. After scoring a goal and recording an assist in the Predators’ season-opener, Colton Sissons managed just one point (an assist) in the 13 games that followed entering play in Colorado on Wednesday night. All he did there was record a hat trick in the Predators’ 4-1 win over the Avalanche. Even though Sissons is not really known for offense (entering play on Wednesday he had scored just 23 goals in 204 career games) this is the second hat trick of his career. He set a career-high in goals a season ago with nine, and he is now up to four this season thanks to his performance on Wednesday.
3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks. Injuries have really limited Ryan Getzlaf the past two seasons, but when he has been on the ice he has shown that he can still be a difference-maker for the Ducks. He scored the game-winning goal for them on Wednesday night in a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames and is now up to 11 points in 11 games this season. Since the start of the 2017-18 season that brings his point total to 72 in 66 games. That 1.09 point per game average is 14th among all NHL players (minimum 40 games played) during that stretch.
Highlights of the Night
Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie had a couple of scares on Wednesday night due to hits to the head, but he was able to return to the game both times and eventually scored the game-winning goal to lift his team to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have now lost five games in a row.
Factoids of the Night
Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin both scored goals for their teams on Wednesday night. This is the ninth time that has happened in their matchups.
What a crazy night for Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie.
After leaving the game on two separate occasions due to hits to the head (a high-stick that produced a cut in the first period; a shoulder to the head from Evgeni Malkin in the third period resulting in an ejection), he was able to return with just enough time left to score the game-winning goal in the Capitals’ 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Alex Ovechkin, doing what he does best and blasting yet another one-timer from his office on the power play, scored the other goal for the Capitals.
Sidney Crosby scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who are now stuck riding a five-game losing streak.
This latest loss for the Penguins came on the same day their general manager, Jim Rutherford, absolutely ripped the team for its early season inconsistencies. The thing that had to be especially frustrating for them on Wednesday is it was probably the best game they have played over the past two weeks. The biggest reason they did not get a better result was a touch of bad luck (at least three shots of the post), and what was a pretty great performance from Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.
At one point the Capitals went nearly 20 minutes without registering a shot on goal, while the Penguins continued to pepper Holtby with chances. In the end Holtby stopped 41 out of the 42 shots he faced.
With the win the Capitals are now just one point behind the New York Islanders for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division while the Penguins go from second place to — for now — out a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Wednesday night’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports App by clicking here.
The two Metropolitan Division rivals meet for the second of four games this season. On Oct. 4, the Penguins took the first meeting in a wild 7-6 overtime game. Right now the teams, who are two of the NHL’s top offenses (WSH, 3.77 goals/gm / PIT, 3.54 goals/gm – T-4th) have identical 6-4-3 records.
The Penguins are struggling at the moment and enter Wednesday’s game on a four-game losing streak, including the last two at home by a combined 10-1 score (5-0 vs TOR, 5-1 vs NJ). They’ve never lost five in a row under Mike Sullivan.
“We’ve got some balance through our lines. We’re hoping by just simplifying our game and taking some of the thinking out of it and just getting after it out there and trying to establish some momentum, that will help us,” Sullivan explained.
Washington heads into the game in the middle of a five-game homestand. They’re coming off a 4-2 win over Edmonton on Monday and a victory on Wednesday would give them consecutive wins for the first time all year.
Neither the Pittsburgh Penguins nor the Washington Capitals are looking like world-beaters, but that has served to keep the moneyline in a range where the Capitals usually make good on their betting value.
The Capitals, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, are 8-2 in their last 10 regular-season home games as a moneyline favorite of -120 to -140, with the total going OVER in eight of those matchups. Washington is also 14-6 in its last 20 home games against the Metropolitan Division.
The Penguins are 6-4 in their last 10 regular-season road games as an underdog of +100 to +120 on the moneyline, with the total going OVER in seven of those matchups.
Led by centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins are 6-4-3 this season, but have lost their last four games by an aggregate score of 18-6. While they are 5-5 in their last 10 visits to Washington’s Capital One Arena, it’s tough to back the Penguins on anything more than a hunch until they can demonstrate more consistency. Pittsburgh’s power play is also in a 2-for-19 slump that has prompted putting Crosby and Malkin on separate units.
Penguins goalie Matt Murray is 5-4 with a 3.93 goals-against average and .875 save percentage in his career against the Capitals.
The Capitals also have a 6-4-3 record and are looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season. The defending Stanley Cup champions are going into their second game since coach Todd Reirden re-jigged his forward lines. While it meant Dmitrij Jaskin is now the right wing on the Kuznetsov-Ovechkin line, it might give the Capitals, who are 15-5 in their last 20 November home games, some extra secondary scoring.
Washington’s most recent victory, a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, was sparked by its fourth line, now bolstered by left wing Jakub Vrana. The Capitals’ power play is also the league’s best, converting at a 36.6 percent efficiency.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is 8-9-3 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .906 save percentage against the Penguins.
The total has gone OVER in three of the Penguins’ last five road games against the Capitals. The total has also gone OVER in 13 of the Capitals’ last 20 home games against Metropolitan Division teams. Wednesday’s total is set at 6.5 goals.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
Wednesday Night Hockey: Memorable goals from Crosby, Ovechkin
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Wednesday night’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
We’re in Year 14 of the Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate. Now in their 30s, both are still at the top of their games and the last three Stanley Cups have been won by either the Penguins or Capitals.
Both Crosby and Ovechkin have delighted us with numerous moments since they entered the NHL in 2005-06. Highlight-reel goals, assists, moves and moments. As they renew their rivalry again Wednesday night, we decided to pick out our favorite goals from both over their future Hall of Fame careers.
Let us know your top moments from each in the comments.
Both of these goals are very similar in nature. When a player of elite talent grabs the puck and picks up steam flying through the neutral zone, that situation won’t end well for the opposing team.
Ovechkin’s goal begins as he picks up a rebound in front of Braden Holtby. He loops around the Capitals net and starts driving up ice. It’s basically a 1-on-3 situation and Ovi knows from the moment he puts his head up that he’s doing this by himself. Rick Nash shows why he’s never won the Selke Trophy an Ryan McDonagh is just hoping he can get his stick or body on it, but to no avail.
Crosby takes the pass from Mark Recchi as he’s entering the neutral zone. He’s not bothered by Blair Betts’ backchecking or Jason Ward’s desperation stick check and then splits a hole between the Rangers defense before beating Henrik Lundqvist. The goal was point No. 37 for Crosby during a season where he would finish with 120, winning his first Art Ross Trophy.
During the nascent days of Hockey Twitter, there was a certain level of animosity toward all of the attention Crosby and Ovechkin received. “What about our guy, these two haven’t even done anything yet?”
Such resentment was always silly because the two stars delivered essentially since day one – both eclipsed 100 points as rookies – but their incredible displays in trading “dueling hat tricks” in Game 2 of their memorable, eventual seven-game series in 2008-09 really silenced a lot of critics. (Granted, it also fueled a new obnoxious narrative, as Ovechkin’s successes soon were dismissed in light of Crosby’s greater team triumphs, a plot that’s only now been softened.)
One remarkable thing is that the actual goals were pretty easy to forget, as the sheer force of the narrative – and the exhilaration of the series – really lingered. All three of Crosby’s goals were “workmanlike,” as he was essentially hacking away close to the net. Meanwhile, Ovechkin basically scored from “his office” for his first two goals, while his third was a great one-on-one move off of the rush.
I am going with this goal in 2009 against the Montreal Canadiens with the behind-the-back pass off the boards to himself at center ice, and then scoring while being hauled down on his way to the net. It is just a completely freakish play that I think gets a lost in the shadow of the goal he scored against the Coyotes in his rookie year. Which was also insane.
Crosby is tough because he doesn’t score as many highlight reel goals. He usually scores the rebound goal, or the deflection, or is just so much better than everyone else that he gets to the puck before anyone else does and just straight up beats the goalie. Think my personal favorite goal of his was probably in his return from the concussion because, one, he scored it like five minutes into the game, and two, it was one of his vintage backhand goals where he just skates by everyone and delivers an unstoppable backhand shot.
Here you have Alex Ovechkin sapping the will out of his opponents. He splits Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh and scores off his knees with a filthy wrist shot. The goal itself is incredible, and then Girardi’s face on the replay said it all: “What am I even supposed to do about that?” Hacked, hauled down and still scored. Ovechkin at his finest.
A goal that ignited a nation. After Canada’s disappointment in Turin in 2006, Crosby restored a country with one quick flick of the wrist. It wasn’t his flashiest or even most impressive. But it was his most important. With everything on the line, Crosby did what Crosby does.
There’s so many different way you could go when choosing a favorite Ovechkin goal because he’s the best goal scorer of this generation, but how about this individual effort against the New Jersey Devils? Not only does he make defenseman Jon Merrill look silly, he also owns goalie Cory Schneider just seconds later. There’s not many players in the world that can pull that off.
Crosby grew up cheering for the Montreal Canadiens because his dad was drafted by the team in 1984. So naturally, he had to do something remarkable when he played against them for first time in his NHL career. We’ve all come to appreciate Crosby’s ability to use his backhander, and that’s exactly what he used to beat Jose Theodore in the shootout. Bonus: he totally obliterated the water bottle on top of Theodore’s net. Incredible.