The NHL races continues to heat up today with a number of games that include some big playoff implications in them. Take for instance the Capitals and Jets game, where both teams are on the fringe. The Wild and Sens find themselves in games they have to win as well. There are a number of other scenarios across the NHL that are worth checking into as well. There isn’t much of a story line for tonights game, other than the Coyotes are putting on an epic tank job to afford themselves the best opportunity at acquiring Connor McDavid in the draft. The Penguins are just looking to improve their seeding at this point, as they are in a very comfortable position to be playing in the playoffs shortly. Making the playoffs or even doing well in them isn’t an ideal scenario for the Pens. It will take a Stanley Cup for them to feel good about their season. At 39-22-4 the Penguins have a good as shot as most teams in the NHL to do just that. However, they need to do a much better job than the way they have been playing lately. An 0-4 run is not Penguins’ hockey and another one of those in the playoffs will constitute a sweep.
The team on the other side goes above and beyond the Penguins’ slide. The Yotes have now lost six straight games. In their last ten games overall they have only managed to win one game, against the Canucks. Before that win the Coyotes were on a losing streak of ten straight games. So, in their last 20 games Arizona is 1-19. The Coyotes could be just what the Penguins ordered to get back on track. If the Penguins play focused tonight, it is hard to envision the Coyotes being able to stick around. Arizona is one bad hockey team from top-to-bottom.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Arizona Coyotes
I looked at the price on this game and I thought it should be even higher than it is. I believed we were going to be getting the Penguins at around -300 against the Coyotes here tonight. I know Malkin is out, but still. Instead the Pens are at -230, which is a pretty hefty price, but let’s see if we can make something out of this game. The Coyotes on their seven game slide only scored an average of 0.7 goals. They weren’t even able to put together a goal per game. That is actually one of the most pathetic stats I have seen all year long. Tanking is in their best interest, so that may look like gold to the five Coyote fans among us. Their defense hasn’t been strong either, as they allowed 3 goals per game in their past ten games.
The Penguins haven’t been productive lately, scoring 2.10 goals per game in their ten games. But funny enough, that is nearly 2 goals more than Arizona has been scoring a game, and this is some of the worst hockey the Penguins have been playing all season. That really puts into perspective how bad the Coyotes truly are. I see this as the perfect time for the Penguins to run into them. The Coyotes are good at making other teams look like world beaters. They are 29nd in the NHL offensively, and are 28th on defense. Look for the Penguins to right the ship tonight and look much better than they have lately. And for the Coyotes, the race to Connor McDavid treks on.
PICK: PENGUINS -1.5 (+136) 5DIMES.EU – BEST ODDS