The NHL is set up for another action-packed night on Saturday. Fourteen games are on the board in total for March 23. One of the top games on the board will be between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Dallas Stars. Both teams are competing for a playoff spot right now, which should lead to a good game on Saturday night. The puck is set to be dropped at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Penguins have picked up their play recently, getting their record up to 40-24-11 this season, which has them sitting in second place of the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh won their last game against the Nashville Predators to end a three-game skid. The Penguins will look to build off of that win to try and secure their spot in the playoffs. Pittsburgh will look to earn a tough road win on Saturday night.
Dallas has posted a record of 38-30-6 to this point in the season. This has put the Stars in the fourth place of the Central Division and in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Dallas has had some slight struggles as of late, losing three of their last four games. The Stars will look to win on Saturday night to try and hold onto the wild card spot.
Saturday night’s matchup will be the second and final game of the season series between the Penguins and the Stars. These two teams both need a big win to try and move up in the standings. I believe that this will help up the intensity on Saturday night. This should help lead to a good game.
Last season, Pittsburgh and Dallas met up a total of two times during the regular season. The Stars hosted the first game of the season series and were able to win 4-3 in a shootout. The second game of the season series shifted to Pittsburgh, where the Penguins bounced back with a 3-1 win of their own. Pittsburgh went on to make the playoffs, while the Stars missed out on the playoffs completely.
The Penguins hosted the first game of this season’s series on November 21. Pittsburgh jumped out fast and absolutely dominated. Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists. Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Roope Hintz had a goal near the end of the game to help get Dallas on the board. Casey DeSmith stopped 18 of 19 shots though as Pittsburgh finished with a 5-1 win.
In last season and this season, the home team has been able to win each of the games. I believe that the Stars could help continue that trend with a victory at home on Saturday night. Dallas has struggled as of late, but this is a game that they need to pick up their intensity and I believe they will. The Stars need a big win to avoid falling out of the wild card spot, which should be plenty of motivation.
The Penguins power play has been excelling throughout this season. Pittsburgh has been able to score on around 24.9 percent of their man-advantage opportunities. The Penguins penalty kill has been working at around the league average, stopping opposing teams power plays around 80.9 percent of the time.
Dallas’ power play has not been doing great to this point in the season. The Stars have been able to capitalize on around 19 percent of their power play chances. Dallas’ penalty kill has been doing a little bit better though, stopping around 82.7 percent of their opponent’s power-play chances to this point in the season. The Stars will need their penalty kill to do well on Saturday night.
The Penguins have a much better power play to this point in the season, but I believe that Dallas’ penalty kill could slow them down. Pittsburgh’s penalty kill has been around the league average but should be able to shut down Dallas’ struggling power play. If the Stars can have a solid night on special teams though, I believe they will be able to pull off the win at home.
I believe that Matt Murray will likely start in net for the Penguins on Saturday night. Murray has put up a record of 25-12-5 to this point in the season, which has helped Pittsburgh get to where they are at. He has a save percentage of .918 and a 2.76 GAA in those games played this season. Murray will need to put up another strong performance on Saturday night.
Anton Khudobin will likely get the nod in net for the Stars on Saturday night. Khudobin has put up solid numbers as Dallas’ backup this season. He has a .925 save percentage and a GAA of 2.51 in his games played this season. Khudobin’s record is not doing quite as well, as he has gone 13-15-4 this season. The Stars need Khudobin to post similar numbers on Saturday night.
Both of these goalies have done well to this point in the season stat wise. Khudobin has a better save percentage and GAA, but his record is not quite as impressive. I believe that if Khudobin can put up numbers like that, it will help the Stars pull off the win. Dallas’ offense needs to give him some help by solving Murray early in the matchup.
The Stars have struggled a little bit as of late and took a loss to Pittsburgh earlier in the season, but I believe that they bounce back with a win on Saturday night. The Penguins have a slight edge on special teams, but I believe that Dallas has the edge when it comes to goalies. The Stars are also at home, which could help them pull off the victory.
BetOnline has Dallas listed as a -115 against the money line. This implies that the Stars will win this game around 53.5 percent of the time. I believe that Dallas will have a sense of urgency in this game with Colorado, Minnesota, and Arizona right at their backs. I believe that the Stars will come out quick and look to dominate at home. I like Dallas in this matchup and believe there is a good amount of value in this bet.