The Ottawa Senators travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in this Eastern Conference matchup. Let's continue our NHL odds series with a Senators-Penguins prediction, pick and letting you know how to watch.
The Senators come into this game in the middle of a five-game losing streak and seven points out of the Wild Card. With less than 15 games to go, they will have some ground to make up if they want to make a miracle run to the playoffs. Ottawa is led by Tim Stutzle, who has 35 goals and 78 points, both being top-20 in the NHL. Mads Sogaard is expected to be in net, and he is on a four-game losing streak of his own. Ottawa will need to play its best hockey Monday night in order to win.
The Penguins come into this game on a three-game losing streak. This losing streak has put them right in the middle of a tight Wild Card race. Pittsburgh leads the Florida Panthers by just one point for the second Wild Card spot but trails the New York Islanders by only two points for that first Wild Card spot. Being that first Wild Card team in the Eastern Conference would be massive for the Penguins, as they would then not have to play the mighty Boston Bruins in the first round.
These two teams have met twice before, with both games being played in January. The Senators won the first one in Ottawa, while the Penguins won the second one in Pittsburgh. Both teams will look to end their losing streak in this rubber match.
Here are the Senators-Penguins NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Senators-Penguins Odds
Otawa Senators: +1.5 (-170)
Pittsburgh Penguins: -1.5 (+140)
Over: 6.5 (-134)
Under: 6.5 (+110)
How To Watch Senators-Penguins
TV: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
Time: 7 PM ET/4 PM PT
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Why The Senators Could Cover The Spread
The Senators will shoot the puck anytime they get the chance. They shoot 33.32 times per game, good for sixth-most in the NHL. The problem is they have the seventh-worst shooting percentage at just 9.4. They are 17th in goals per game at 3.13. With the amount of times they shoot per game, this number should be a little closer to 3.5. However, if the Senators can score at least three times, they put themselves in good postions to win. Ottawa has a record of 30-8-4 when scoring three or more goals this year. Finding a way to take better shots and create better chances is going to be crucial for the Senators in this one.
The Senators' number in this one will be four, however. If the Penguins score four goals, the Senators will not win this game. When Ottawa gives up three goals or less, they have a record of 29-6-1. The Senators will need to find a way to control the puck and limit the chances Pittsburgh has on offense.
Why The Penguins Could Cover The Spread
The Penguins need to win this game, and they should rely on Sidney Crosby to do it. Crosby is top-10 in the NHL in assists and top-15 in points. He wants to share the puck and create chances for his teammates. However, he does still have 29 goals, so he will shoot when he needs to do so.
Crosby will have plenty of chances to share the puck on the power play Monday night. The Senators are constantly in the penalty box as they average 11.61 penalty minutes a game. However, Ottawa does kill 82.3 percent of penalties, so Pittsburgh will need to be at the top of its game. They can do this by taking their shots. The Penguins take almost 34 shots a game and have the ninth-most power play goals in the NHL with 51. They will need to convert on the power play if they want to win.
As previously stated, Ottawa's best chance at victory is to give up less than four goals. The Penguins' best chance at winning is if they score four or more goals. When the Penguins score four or more times in a game this season, they own a record of 24-3-4. In both games against Ottawa this year, the Penguins have scored four goals. If they can do that for a third time, they should be in good shape.
Final Senators-Penguins Prediction & Pick
The Senators and Penguins should be a good game Monday night, but I think the Senators keep this one close. In betting terms, the Penguins have not been good against the spread this year. The Penguins might win this one, but it will be a nail-biting affair.
Final Senators-Penguins Prediction & Pick: Senators +1.5 (-170) Over 6.5 (-134)