Why Tuesday’s Capitals-Penguins game could decide the Stanley Cup

As the Capitals travel to Pittsburgh to take on the rival Penguins Tuesday (Coverage begins 6 p.m., NBC Sports Washington), there might be significantly more online than just two points in the standings.
The champions of the last three Stanley Cups will meet in Tuesday’s game as the Caps won final year and the Penguins won in 2016 and 2017. In each of those three seasons, Washington and Pittsburgh had to play with one another in the postseason in their way to the tournament. But, as divisional opponents, both teams had plenty of matchups in the regular season too.
The Caps have fared pretty well against their rivals in the regular season over the previous three decades. At the 2015-16 season, Washington managed a 2-2-1 record against the Penguins. That improved to 2-0-2 in 2016-17. Still, the leads to the postseason remained the same using the Caps falling at the second round each year. In 2017-18, Washington went 2-2-0 against Pittsburgh, but defeated them in the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history.
While the overall records don’t shed much light, should you look a little closer you discover that the last matchup of the season has proven key.
The Caps dropped on April 7 to the Penguins 4-3 in overtime. Marcus Johansson scored twice for Washington, but Sidney Crosby scored the overtime winner. In 2017, both groups met for the last time before in the summer on Jan. 16 with the Caps losing in overtime again, now 8-7. Washington gave up a 3-0 lead as Evgeni Malkin tallied a hat trick and Connor Sheary felt in overtime.
Things were different, however, in 2018. With the Metropolitan Division very much up for grabs, Philipp Grubauer was brilliant in net to lead the Caps to the 3-1 triumph.
Why does this matter? Because in each of the previous 3 seasons, the winner of this final regular-season meeting between these two teams has gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
Maybe it is a shame and it doesn’t matter. But maybe a late-season match with significant implications against a bitter rival in a playoff air is a good test of where a team stands going into the postseason.
The New York Islanders sit only two points behind Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Behind these, Pittsburgh is tied for third with the Carolina Hurricanes. Not only would a loss for your Caps hurt them in the division race, but it also makes a first-round matchup against the Penguins quite possible.
Tuesday’s game is enormous concerning the standings, but make no mistake, this game is all about a whole lot more than just those two points.

Read more: https://totalsporty.com/champions-league-odds/

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