NHL Betting Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Odds, Analysis

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2016

Pittsburgh Penguins' Patric Hornqvist, left, celebrates his third goal of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes with teammate Phil Kessel (81) during the second period in Pittsburgh, Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Penguins (32-21-8) may end up playing the Washington Capitals (45-12-4) in the first round of the playoffs, which would be an intriguing role reversal between underdogs and favorites.

Until then, Pittsburgh will try to win its third straight game overall and remain in a playoff position when the team visits Washington as a road betting underdog at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark on Tuesday in the second game of a back-to-back situation.

The Penguins are coming off a 6-0 rout of the Arizona Coyotes on Monday and have outscored their last two opponents 10-1 heading into this Metropolitan Division matchup with the Capitals.

On Monday, winger Patric Hornqvist notched his first career hat trick and added an assist for Pittsburgh, while goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves to earn his fifth shutout of the season and the 43rd of his career.

The Pens are 2-0 since the return of All-Star center Evgeni Malkin, who missed 10 games with a knee injury.

The Capitals suffered a road loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, falling 3-2 to the Western Conference leaders. They were underdogs in that game for the first time since beating the New York Rangers 4-3 on the road back on January 9.

Washington had closed at minus-210 (bet $210 to win $100) in its previous four games, and the team has dropped consecutive games only twice this season.

Pittsburgh visits the Caps in an unfortunate back-to-back spot due to a snowstorm that postponed the teams' January 24 meeting. While the Pens have won the second game in each of their last two back-to-backs, they dropped eight of their previous nine under that scenario.

Those two recent wins were both decided by one goal on the road last month.

The teams have split two meetings so far this season, with each winning on the other’s home ice. Pittsburgh won the first meeting 3-1 on October 28, and Washington notched a 4-1 victory in the second on December 14.

The Caps have won four of the past six meetings after the Pens won the previous eight, according to the Odds Shark NHL Database. The under is also 6-1-1 in the last eight games between the teams.