#4 Ottawa Senatorsvs.#3 Pittsburgh Penguins
Thursday, January 1 2017, at 7:35pm EST
Written by David Hess
Pittsburgh Penguins (26-8-4-1 SU, 16-23 PL, 25-10-4 O/U) vs Ottawa Senators (21-14-3-1 SU, 20-19 PL, 16-21-2 O/U)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 12, 2016
Where: Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario
Lines: Pittsburgh -140/Ottawwa +120
Tonight in NHL action, the Pittsburgh Penguins will battle it out with the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. The Penguins have a game in Washington on Wednesday night prior to this game, while the Senators check in off a 5-3 home win over the Oilers, which broke a four-game slide they were on. The Over is 5-1 the last six games in this series.
The Pittsburg Penguins are the defending champs and they will not go quietly this year. They have a game in Washington on Wednesday night prior to this one and they are riding a five-game win streak heading into that tussle. The Penguins are in 2nd place in the Metro Division and are just three points behind the Blue Jackets. The offense has been their real strength all year and it was in their last win, which was a 6-2 victory at Tampa Bay. The Pens are now 18-4 at home, compared to just 8-9 on the road. The Pens got off 40 shots in the win over the Bolts and had six players score for them. Scoring in the win was Conor Sheary, which was his 10th of the year, Eric Fehr, which was his 5th, Chris Kunitz, which was his 4th, Phil Kessel, which was his 13th and Kris Letang, which was his 3rd.
Grabbing the win in the game was Marc-Andre Fleury, who is now 13-9 with a 3.07 GAA on the year, including 2-6 with a 3.83 GAA on the road, while vs the Sens in his career he is 13-11 with a 3.31 GAA. Should it be Matt Murray in this game, then we note that he is 13-4 with a 2.18 GAA on the year, including 6-3 with a 2.43 GAA on the road, while vs the Sens in his career he has gone 2-0 with a 2.59 GAA. Pittsburgh comes in ranked 1st in the league in scoring at 3.51 gpg, while also ranking 1st in shots taken (34.9 spg) and 4th in power play conversions, converting on 22.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been below average as they come in ranked 18th in goals allowed, giving up 2.77 gpg, while also ranking 27th in shots allowed (32.6) and 22nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.1% of their chances.
The Ottawa Senators are not having a great year and especially of late as they have gone just 1-4 in their last five games. Their lone win over that stretch was their last game and they topped the Oilers by a 5-3 score in that game. The Sens had a 2-0 lead in the game at the end of the 1st period, but the Oilers then scored three goals in the first 12:59 of the 3rd to take a 3-2 lead. After that it was all Ottawa as they scored the final three goals of the game, including one from tom Pyatt at the 18:14 mark of the 2nd period to put them up for good. It was his 5th of the year/ Also scoring in the win was Zach Smith, which was his 9th of the year, Mike Hoffman, which was his 11th of the year, Mark Stone, which was his 12th of the year and Kyle Turris, which was his team-leading 14th of the year.
Snatching up the win vs the Oilers was mike Condone, who is now 9-9 with a 2.32 GAA on the year, including 5-5 with a 1.97 GAA here at home, while vs the Penguins in his career he is 0-2 with a 2.29 GAA. The Senators check in at 22nd in the league in scoring at 2.46 gpg, while also ranking 25th in shots taken (28.6 spg) and 21st in power play conversions, converting on 16.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been solid as they come in ranked 11th in goals allowed, giving up 2.59 gpg, while also ranking 17th in shots allowed (30.4) and 10th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 16.9% of their chances.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing very well at the moment, while the Senators have lost four of their last five games. Still, this is not a good spot for the Penguins as they are playing on no rest and their game on Wednesday night a huge matchup vs the Capitals. They could be a bit flat for this one and the Sens really need this game, so I look for them to grab a big win over a flat Pittsburgh team that will have Fleury in goal and not Murray.
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