Pens will rebound in Game 4
Look for the Pens to relocate their scoring touch
By Angelo Montilla
Here are a few NHL playoff betting options to consider, with odds courtesy of Bovada.
The Eastern Conference Final wasn’t expected to go this way. After three games of the best-of-seven series, the Ottawa Senators hold a 2-1 lead and can really put the stranglehold on the defending champs on Friday night when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Coming off an embarrassing 5-1 loss in which they surrendered four goals on nine shots, the Penguins remain the team to beat in Game 4 as the -115 favorites. It’s asking a lot but the Pens will need a better display from their depleted blue-line, which is already without Kris Letang and Justin Schultz.
The defensive-minded Senators switched gears early in Game 3, uncharacteristically scoring five goals in a game. The Sens face a tough task of repeating that success as the -105 underdogs at home.
The Penguins know a thing or two about scoring goals, too. The defending Cup champions are averaging 2.93 goals for per game — second only to the Anaheim Ducks. The Pens also have the edge in the shots department, averaging 32.58 in the Eastern Conference Final against the Senators.
As powerful as these Penguins are, it’s just hard to ignore the Sens have defeated their Eastern Conference rivals four of the last six meetings. Mike Hoffman, who had a huge impact on Ottawa success against the Rangers last round, had a pair of points in the Senators’ Game 3 win. Despite seeing his ice time decline, Hoffman will be one of Ottawa’s go-to forwards again on Friday night.
Both clubs have been horrendous on the man advantage in this series, with the Senators failing to score a power-play goal in seven chances. The Pens haven’t been much better with just one goal in nine opportunities.
Two of the opening three games of this series have produced under outcomes. However, Friday night may bring a different result. The Pens will be hungry to tie this series and in the process will look to open up the scoring much like the Senators did in Game 3. With a total goals projection of 5, watch for the Pens to respond with a big win of their own.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins (-115) and the over (5)