It is an Eastern Conference battle as the Pittsburgh Penguins go to the Motor City to face the Detroit Red Wings. It is time to continue our NHL odds series with a Penguins-Red Wings prediction, pick, and how to watch.
Pittsburgh enters tonight in control of their playoff destiny. They just managed a huge win over the Washington Capitals to get their second win in the last three games after a four-game losing skid. The Penguins now lead the Panthers by three points for the last spot in the East with a game in hand. On the other end are the Red Wings. Losers of two straight and 3-7 in their last ten, they are on the verge of mathematical elimination. A loss in regulation tonight will put them 13 points out with only nine left to play.
Here are the Penguins-Red Wings NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Penguins-Red Wings Odds
Pittsburgh Penguins: -1.5 (+122)
Detroit Red Wings: +1.5 (-146)
Over: 6.5 (+106)
Under: 6.5 (-130)
How To Watch Penguins vs. Red Wings
Time: 7:00 PM ET/ 4:00 PM PT
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Why The Penguins Could Cover The Spread
The Penguins are coming off a gutsy win in their last outing. After a scoreless first period, the Penguins got two goals in the second. They look a 3-0 lead on a power-play goal 27 seconds into the third period, but then Washington came alive. Wilson, Ovechkin, and Strome all scored, tying the game with under three minutes left to play. Then, Evgeni Malkin picked off a pass in the middle of the ice, taking it the other way for the game-winner.
The offense has come back to life some in the last three games, after a very rough stretch in which they were averaging 1.75 goals per game. Jake Guentzel scored again, this time on the power play, against the Capitals. That gives him eight goals in March, and 13 total points in 13 games. He has been shooting a ton as well, with seven in the Capitals game, and back-to-back games of six shots earlier in the month. He has been creating opportunities for the Penguins, and they continue to capitalize on them.
Goaltending has been average for the Penguins this year. Tristan Jarry was on a major cold spell before bouncing back against the Avalanche. In that game, he came away with a lower-body injury though, which led Casey DeSmith to get the next two starts. That may not be a bad thing for the Penguins. He saves 31 of 34 against the Capitals and had a save percentage of over .900 against the Stars in a 3-2 loss.
Tonight will change for the Penguins to solidify their chances at the playoffs, and even makeup ground on the top wild-card spot. They will be gunning for that so that they can avoid Boston in the first round. If they perform as they did for most of the game against the Capitals, they will pull it off.
Why The Red Wings Could Cover The Spread
The Red Wings are mired in quite a slump. They have just won once in their last six games and just got shut out by the Flyers. The offense has been an issue for them, as they have scored just 29 goals in their last 15 games, under two goals per game. Dylan Larkin has yet to return to goal-scoring. He did have an assist in the 4-3 loss to the Blues but managed just two shots. With two shots against the Flyers, that is four straight games under three shots on goal.
Larkin now only has four goals in the last 15 games, and someone needs to step up. The Red Wings have players who can score, such as Dominik Kubalik, but he has gone cold as well. After starting the year with nine goals in the first 18 games, he has scored just nine goals since.
In between the pipes, tonight will be Alex Nedeljkovic. This will be his third game this month. He came in during the 4-3 loss to St. Louis, allowing a goal on nine shots and getting the loss. In the next game, he started, allowing two goals in 21 shots, and taking another loss. Nedeljkovic has not won a game since November 6th and is 2-6-2 on the season. He is not getting a lot of opportunities but needs to make the most of them.
Final Penguins-Red Wings Prediction & Pick
The Penguins have much more to play for here. They need to get out of that final playoff spot and move up to avoid Boston. Detroit also has found nothing on offense. They are not generating chances and not getting the puck on the net. With a goaltender who has not shown he can win this year, this will be a long night for the Red Wings.
Final Penguins-Red Wings Prediction & Pick: Pittsburgh -1.5 (+122)