Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Game 7 Preview
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
When: Thursday, May 25, 2017, 8:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NBCSN
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Betting on the Ottawa Senators (+1.5)
True Ottawa Senators fans were in for a treat this past Tuesday, as their team defeated the Pitsburgh Penguins, 2-1, to force a winner-take-all Game 7 this Thursday.
Granted that the Senators were in a must-win situation, the Canadian Tire Centre, strangely enough, wasn’t sold out for Game 6. In turn, a good number of the team’s supporters failed to witness Craig Anderson’s masterful performance in person.
Anderson made a whopping 45 saves that evening after having subpar outings over the last couple of contests. The Senators’ hopes of making the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in a decade definitely hinges on their netminder, considering that their offense hasn’t been able to consistently counter that of Pittsburgh’s.
Nevertheless, Ottawa finally got it going with the man-advantage, with right wing Bobby Ryan scoring the team’s first power play goal in 10 games – an 0-for-29 stretch with the upper hand that had been a huge factor for their struggles in the playoffs. Ryan, who’s currently the second-highest scoring player on the team with 15 points in the playoffs, will need another performance like Tuesday’s, especially with top producer Erik Karlsson (16 points) still battling a leg injury.
Unfortunately, the Sens will have to travel back to Pittsburgh to try and advance to the final stage, and ultimate series-deciding contests have not been kind to them at all. They have a dismal record of 0-5 in Game 7s, which is tied with the Arizona Coyotes for the worst mark across all major North American sports.
Betting on the Pittsburgh Penguins (-1.5)
Once again, the Pittsburgh Penguins squandered a chance to advance to the next round of the postseason after having just exhibited exactly why they’re the defending NHL champs. Tuesday’s Game 6 was the fifth-consecutive time that the Penguins have failed to secure a playoff series-clinching win series on their first attempt.
On the bright side, the Pens’ attack remains relentless. They had a massive 75-46 edge in shots taken in Game 6, with a combined 13 shots-on-goal from their standout duo of Evgeni Malkin (seven) and Sidney Crosby (six). Speaking of Malkin – the current postseason leader in offensive production with 24 points – it was he who nearly sealed the deal for Pittsburgh by scoring the first goal of Tuesday’s contest.
However, Pittsburgh just couldn’t get past Ottawa’s Anderson that evening, something that the team is certainly capable of doing as evident in its stunning 7-0 blowout of the Senators in Game 5. A return to PPG Paints Arena where that Game 5 shellacking took place may just be what the the team needs.
However, history is not on the Pens’ side entering Thursday’s final clash against the Senators. They’ve beaten the Washington Capitals the previous round and the Tampa Bay Lightning in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals in a couple of Game 7 classics, but those two contests were won on the road. A little-known fact is that the Penguins are actually 0-for-7 in Game 7s on home ice; a miserable skid that has got to end if they are to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second-straight season.
Title-winning pedigree prevails, as the Penguins (-220) advance to Finals with a tense 4-3 victory.
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