After yet another victory here at The Sports Geek with our Featured Game of the night, we’re back at it again Sunday with an intriguing clash between a struggling Pittsburgh Penguins team and a surging Ottawa Senators squad. The featured picks are 5-1 YTD, with all picks overall coming in at a 16-6 mark.
Pittsburgh Penguins (-120) @ Ottawa Senators (+100)
After beginning the season with two dominant victories, the Penguins have since lost contests to both the Leafs and the Jets. Coach Dan Bylsma has alluded to a lack of intensity, and stressed that adamantly at yesterday’s practice. The team has talked about this game vs. the Sens as an important one to get back on track, so expect a much better, more-disciplined approach from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ottawa meanwhile has started the season quite well, bolting out to a 3-1 mark. That said, their quality of competition hasn’t been all that great, and their first loss against a solid Tampa Bay squad exposed their defensive deficiencies. The Sens have plenty of firepower, but their defense remains a bit weak. Stopping both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin’s lines won’t come easy for their group, and look for a motivated Pens squad to put on a show Sunday night at the Scotiabank Place.
A fact not to be lost on the Penguins is that Ottawa won 3 of the 4 contests these two teams played last season, only adding to the urgency of Pittsburgh’s preparation for this game. The betting line for this contest started out as a pick’em but has risen to make the Pens a slight favourite. Expect that number to keep rising until puck-drop. Sidney Crosby is the best player in hockey and is just starting to round into form, a scary thought for the rest of the NHL. He scored two goals Friday night in Winnipeg, and always seems to thrive in any Canadian city.
Look for the high-flying attack of Pittsburgh to give huge trouble for an Ottawa team that has simply feasted on poor competition. While the Sens may sneak into the post-season, they are nowhere near the level of Pittsburgh. Expect a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair with the Pens ultimately emerging victorious in comfortable fashion.
PICK = Pittsburgh (-120)