The Pittsburgh Penguins look for better fortunes on the road in Ottawa, as they are coming off yet another loss on Thursday. With the 4-3 loss to the Lightning, the Penguins have lost seven of their last eight games. If you just woke up from a coma and missed the start of the season, that little bit of information would likely be startling. In an era that is dominated by younger legs, the Pens have looked a step slow, especially against faster teams.
Their core is composed of some aging veterans, albeit they’ve had tremendous success in their careers. Experience only goes so far, though, and we’ll see if the Penguins will be able to gather momentum. They don’t get the stiffest competition on the road tonight, but the Senators are at home on a Saturday night and they are feeling alright after a 2-1 win over the Red Wings. A 2-1 game is not the kind of games that the Sens have won too often this season.
The Senators haven’t gotten much help from their defence or goaltending, but on that night, everything was working for them on the blueline. There are outliers in everything, though, so we’ll see if that was just a blip which many people believe. The Senators have traded wins and losses recently, with a win, loss, win, loss, and win in their previous five games. The Pens have been reeling, especially defensively and in net with Matt Murray struggling. Head below for our free Penguins vs. Senators pick below.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators Pick
Murray could have been better against the Lightning, but his team didn’t give him much help. They left him out to dry by taking careless penalties and putting the Bolts on the power play. The Lightning connected for 4 power play goals, which is what they needed to get by the Pens. The Senators’ offence maybe isn’t as high powered as the Lightning, but give them enough power plays to work with and Pittsburgh might be looking at yet another loss.
Ottawa have scored an average of 3.37 goals per game for 5th in the league, so they aren’t that far off behind the Lightning. They got blanked against the Penguins in their last matchup with them, a 4-0 final back in April of last season. Note that Crosby is unlikely to play this evening as a result of an upper-body injury. He missed the Lightning game, which ultimately came up a loss.
Despite the strong outing against the Red Wings, an offence that isn’t as capable as the Penguins, the Senators have been shredded defensively. They have allowed 4.05 goals per game to put them last in the NHL. It’s not even close really, the 30th ranked Canucks are giving up 3.48 goals per game, so that’s more than a half goal worse.
The Pens are 7th in the league with 3.29 goals scored per game. Likely no Crosby tonight, but his defensive awareness also takes away from a struggling defence. It’s easy to think of him as just a playmaker, though he is missed defensively as well. After the Senators’ defence played one of their best games against the Wings, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them hit the wall against the Penguins. Look at the OVER for this Eastern Conference matchup in Ottawa.