NHL Odds: Back Streaking Penguins On The Road vs. Senators

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 3:27 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2016 3:27 PM GMT

Penguins have clinched a playoff spot but are looking to finish second in the MD with the regular season concluding this weekend. They are favorites at NHL odds for Tuesday's game vs. Senators.

Crosby Carrying Red-Hot Penguins
Pittsburgh (46-25-8) can't catch Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington for first in the Metropolitan and have a five-point lead over the New  York Rangers for second in the division as of  Monday. If those standings finish that way, the Penguins would face the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

The Pens are on fire right now as on Sunday in their regular-season home finale they clobbered the Flyers 6-2 to win for the sixth straight game -- tying a season-best mark -- and 12th time in the past 13. The Penguins have scored at least five goals in five of their last seven games. Sidney Crosby had a goal vs. the Flyers, his 33rd of the season.

He has a point in six straight games and in 18 of the past 19. Crosby is up to third in the NHL scoring race with 82 points but isn't likely to catch No. 2 Jamie Benn, who has 88 points. Chicago's Patrick Kane leads with 100. Crosby was just named the team's MVP for the sixth time in his career. Since Dec. 12, Crosby is the NHL’s leading scorer with 61 points (26 goals) in 48 games. His career-high eight game-winning goals are tied for second-most in the NHL.

The Pens remain without their other star Evgeni Malkin. He has been out since March 11 with an upper-body injury and is very much in question for the first round of the playoffs. He has 27 goals and 31 assists. Goaltender Matt Murray was named the NHL's third star for last week. Murray stopped 52 of 54 shots in two wins and will enter Tuesday’s game riding a personal five-game winning streak. He might have stolen the No. 1 job from Marc-Andre Fleury, who is dealing with a concussion. Pittsburgh is 34-31-14 'over/under' on NHL odds this season and 13-19-6 O/U on the road.

 

Senators Likely To Get Makeover
Last week, Ottawa (36-34-9) was officially eliminated from the playoffs. That was made even more notable because the Senators were the final Canadian team with a chance for the postseason. So for just the second time in league history there will be no teams from north of the border competing for Lord Stanley's Cup after five made it last season.

The only other time no Canadian teams made the playoffs was in 1970 when the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens both missed out on the eight-team postseason in a 12-team league. Now there are seven Canadian teams and 30 in the NHL. No team from that country has won the Stanley Cup since 1993. Maybe Canada can save some face by winning this September's World Cup of Hockey, and it will be favored for the eight-team tournament in Toronto.

There's likely to be a lot of offseason change for the Senators. General Manager Bryan Murray has been given the option of returning but hasn't said for sure if he will. He will sit down with owner Eugene Melnynk and decide shortly after the season. If Murray stays, he'd have to decide whether to retain Coach Dave Cameron.

Ottawa has one of the best defensemen in the NHL in  Erik Karlsson. He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top blueliner for a second time  last season and could again this year. He leads the team with 64 assists, tops in the NHL, and 79 points, fourth in the league. Both of those are career highs.

Those are the most points for any defenseman in the NHL since Nicklas Lidstrom had 80 with the Detroit Red Wings in 2005-06. No defenseman has finished in the Top 5 in scoring overall since Edmonton's Paul Coffey in 1985-86. The last to lead the league in assists was the legendary Bobby Orr with 89 in 1974-75. Karlsson is going to lead Ottawa in scoring for a third straight year and only one blueliner has ever led his team in scoring four years in a row: the Islanders' Denis Potvin from 1973-77.

Ottawa's a pretty good offensive team, averaging 2.8 goals per game, which is ninth. But it is not good on defense (27th in allowing 3.0 goals per game), on the power play (28th at 15.9 percent) or the  penalty kill (29th at 75.1 percent).

It's not clear if Andrew Hammond or Craig Anderson will be in net here. They have largely been alternating of late. Hammond played Saturday in a 3-2 loss at Philadelphia. The Senators are 37-39-3 'over/under' this season on NHL picks and 18-21-0 O/U at home.

 

Season Series
Pittsburgh leads 2-0. It beat the visiting Senators 2-0 on Oct. 15. Malkin had a goal and Fleury made 22 saves. Anderson had 34 saves for the Sens. On Feb. 2, also in Pittsburgh, the Penguins won 6-5. Crosby scored three straight goals for his first natural hat trick since Dec. 2, 2010. Fleury had 18 saves, while Anderson made 38 stops.

 

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Free NHL Picks
Take the Penguins and go 'over.' Pittsburgh has won six straight road games.
Ottawa is 1-7 in its past eight vs. teams with a winning record.
The 'over'  is 12-3-2 in the Pens' past 17 vs. Atlantic Division teams.
The 'over' is 5-0 in the Senators' past five when their opponent scores at least five goals in their previous game.

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