There are only two games on the NHL schedule tonight, as the Boston Bruins play host to the Montreal Canadiens, and the Penguins and Ducks meet in Anaheim. The Pens enter the Duck Pond with a record of 24-19-2. For the Penguins standards, that’s an ugly looking record. They’ve appeared like they are bored and just want to get the playoffs to get here. News flash, Pens, if you don’t do well enough in the regular season there won’t be any playoffs.
Pittsburgh have gone through the motions thus far and haven’t looked like Stanley Cup Champions. They could certainly flip a switch to the ON position and get hot, though. The Penguins have the talent to do that. They have been playing much better hockey of late, as they come into this one on a four-game winning streak, and winners in four of their last five games.
They’ve been playing more like the Pittsburgh Penguins lately. The Pens said goodbye to 2017, and started fresh in 2018. The New Year has brought a lot of good in Pittsburgh. They’ve won five of six games in January, as maybe they had something come over them finally. With 24 wins, and currently a game up on the final wildcard spot, the Penguins can’t relax in the second-half. Do I think they’re going to reach the playoffs?
Yes. We may even come back here in a couple of months and laugh at the fact that we were even debating it. The offence has come to life lately, and they do resemble Stanley Cup winners finally. They won’t be able to stay at this pace over the next few months, but I expect to see more of this, and less of what we seen over the first few months of the season. Head below for our free Penguins vs. Ducks pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Anaheim Ducks Pick
The Penguins have certainly woken up, and it’s been showing up on the scoreboard. Across their last four games, they’ve averaged 4.75 goals per game. In five of their last six games, the Penguins have scored at least 4 goals. That’s more like the offence we’re used to seeing. The Pens are 15th in scoring, a far-cry from where they’re accustomed to being near the top of the league. However, they have shown signs of life late, and have plenty of time to improve on those numbers. The team is riding with the hot-hand of Sidney Crosby. Crosby has been on a tear with four straight multi-point games, which includes 3 goals and 8 assists. When Crosby is performing, everything else seems to fall into place for the Penguins. He is also on a ten-game point streak at the moment. Kessel has also scored in three straight games, and is on a four-game point streak.
The Ducks enter with a record of 20-16-4. They’re a season removed from getting bumped out of the playoffs by the Predators, and as it is now, aren’t a team who would hold a flame to the Predators. The Ducks acquired Adam Henrique to help out in the offensive department. Thanks to injuries and no firepower, they needed to bring somebody in. They’ve gotten healthier since, but goal scoring has continued to be the biggest issue in Anaheim. The Ducks have won one of their last four games, while scoring 2 or less in three of them. Pittsburgh has gone 7-2 over the Ducks in their last nine meetings. Note that goaltender John Gibson owns an abysmal 3.88 GAA and 0.885 save percentage against the Penguins. They just do not match-up well with the Penguins. As slight dogs, I’d lean with the Penguins in this one.
PICK: PENGUINS (+105)