Right about now, a very nervous nation’s capital is not nearly as concerned about who will be the next President compared to a certain hockey series taking place at the Verizon Center this Saturday evening.
Game 5 of the division finals will pit Washington and Pittsburgh in the type of contest that can define the respective franchises, as the Capitals will be challenged to seize the moment and overcome a two-game deficit, or simply surrender the top seed factor.
If Washington can rise to the occasion, Game 5 might be a legend maker, like in 1994 when Mark Messier guaranteed a Game 6 victory over the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals, and not only made good on his bet, but scored a hat trick in the process.
Though the series has been dubbed Sidney Crosby versus Alexander Ovechkin, that title overlooks the fact that the Capitals and Penguins are both deep and talented hockey teams.
Story one should really be about Matt Murray, the 21-year-old rookie goalie of Pittsburgh who has become the epitome of the hot player/goalie making a mark in the playoffs.
The goaltender was pretty much an unknown until the playoffs started, but that was then. Now, with just 13 regular season games under his belt, Murray has stepped into the 2016 playoffs like a seasoned pro, posting a .944 save percentage and 1.79 goals against average.
Murray’s DraftKings DFS price ($6500) is the friendliest in daily leagues and l wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you to jump all over that price before it is too late.
The second story in the Pittsburgh/Washington match-up is the play of the Penguins second line of Carl Hagelin, Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino. This trio came together shortly after the trade of David Perron (for Hagelin right before the trade deadline), and they have been nothing short of spectacular since joining forces all through the playoffs thus far.
Reasonably priced, Hagelin ($5000), Kessel ($5400) and Bonino ($4900) make a nice cluster of plug-ins to augment superstars. Note that since March 13th, these second liners have been amazing: Hagelin - 9G/9A/18 Points, Kessel 6G/13A/19 Points, Nick Bonino 6G/19A/25 Points. The Pens second line has been so dynamic it’s giving Coach Sullivan the best 3rd line ever with Evgeni Malkin ($5600), Chris Kunitz ($5200) and Brandon Rust ($3400).
So, Saturday evening is Game 5 in Washington D.C., and we shall see if Ovechkin and his mates can carry the President’s Trophy winning team and show some resolve in winning one game at a time. It is a start.