NHL Picks: Senators vs. Penguins Game 5

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, May 23, 2013 2:41 PM GMT

The Penguins look to close out the series and advance to the Eastern Conference finals when they faceoff Friday night against the Senators.


NHL Picks:  Senators vs. Penguins Game 5

Let’s analyze this pivotal Game 5 for our sports picks.

Swinging Johnson - NHL Record (11-6-1, +18.4 units)

*Games assigned 1 to 5 units. 

Update:

If you’re reading this on Thursday then I would ask you to turn your attention to my two NHL picks for this evening featuring the Blackhawks/Redwings and the Bruins/Rangers clash.

We are up over 18 units and I will revise my record Friday morning when hopefully we will be adding to our already impressive bankroll in our 2013 NHL picks.

Ottawa Senators

The Senators surprised everyone when they rolled over the Canadiens in their quarterfinal matchup but the Penguins are a different kettle of fish…or birds as the case may be.  Ottawa broke out to a 2-1 lead in the first period of Game 4 only to watch helplessly as the Penguins juggernaut blistered six consecutive goals past a defenseless Senators team en route to a 7-3 loss and a seemingly hopeless uphill climb to get back in the series.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was banished to the bench in the final 11 minutes of play after allowing six goals on 38 shots.  Backup Robin Lehner finished the game but even he did not go unscathed as Jarome Iginla lit the lamp on a power play opportunity that sealed the deal for Pittsburgh.  Captain Daniel Alfredsson tipped home the final goal of the game but it was far too little too late for the Senators.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The fat lady is warming up and the Penguins are hoping she delivers her aria on Friday night.  It’s almost a fait accompli at this point that Pittsburgh will be advancing to a date in the Eastern Conference finals.  There is just too much firepower for the Senators to contend with and even the Pittsburgh defense has tightened up enough to mount even more pressure on their opponents. 

Perhaps the biggest move the Penguins made was relegating former starter Marc-Andre Fleury to the bench in favor of Thomas Vokoun.  The 36-year-old netminder may not be the goalie of the future for Pittsburgh but right now he is crucial to their Stanley Cup hopes.  Vokoun is 5-1 with a 1.82 GAA and a dazzling .942 save percentage.  Those are the stats your starting goalie has to have if you want to go anywhere in the postseason.  

As for offensive production in the playoffs, the Penguins have four of the top five point getters in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Jarome Iginla.  The team is stacked and their first round scare against the upstart New York Islanders may have been just the tonic they needed to keep their focus and choose the best man in net for the playoff run.

[gameodds]7/236300/43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

The Pick:

In perusing the NHL odds it’s hard to ignore the heavy lumber the books will ask you to pay if you want to back the Penguins.  I am not going to look at a value play here on the Senators because quite frankly, they’re toast.  However, I won’t be seduced into believing that Pittsburgh isn’t susceptible to being caught off guard by a desperate Ottawa team. 

I will lay the lumber but reduce the size of the wager because that’s what smart gamblers do.  In our NHL picks for Friday night we will watch Pittsburgh decimate the Senators and congratulate the fallen Senators after the final buzzer has sounded.

Play the Penguins -220 for 3 units at Bet365.com.