Seeing Stars: Penguins to Feel Effects of Back-to-Back Games

Dana Lane

Sunday, March 11, 2018 2:16 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018 2:16 PM UTC

The "under" in the past seven matchups in this series is 5-2, and with Pittsburgh on a back-to-back it's even more likely the trend continues tonight.

Sunday NHL: Stars vs. PenguinsFree NHL Pick: Under 6 (-105)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Dallas Stars (38-24-6, 82 points, +20 goal differential) visit the Igloo to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins (39-26-4, 82, +16). The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.

According to the NHL odds board the Penguins opened as -155 favorites, with that number quickly being bet down on the heels of their 5-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday. A small bit of money has come in on the "over," with the number holding steady at 6, -110 each way.

The first meeting between Dallas and Pittsburgh was entertaining, with the Stars winning 4-3 in a shootout. Jamie Benn, who had three assists in that game for Dallas, has five points in his past five.

Stars money-line bettors have lost 181 units this season, while puck-line supporters have lost 198 units. The "over" in Stars games is 34-32-2 overall and 16-14-1 on the road. Penguins money-line backers have won 229 units, and puck-line wagers have won 214 units. The "over" is 38-29-2 overall and 19-14-1 at home.

The probable starting goaltenders tonight are Dallas' Kari Lehtonen (12-7-2, .921, 2.24) against Casey DeSmith (3-4-0, .913, 2.73).

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The past two months have been a wild ride for the Stars and we're set up for a crazy finish as we enter the home stretch. Go behind-the-scenes in our latest episode of 'Open Ice'.

WATCH: https://t.co/5UsPfGAOzA pic.twitter.com/HW97AlxN28

— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 7, 2018
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Top 10 Power Rankings: Dallas No. 9; Pittsburgh No. 1

Key Statistic: Dallas 83.3 percent power-play success (third); Pittsburgh 3.26 goals per game (fifth)

All-Time Series Record: Pittsburgh leads 71-66-12

Series This Decade: Dallas leads 8-5 overall but has lost four of six at Pittsburgh

Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock has tried many line combinations in an effort to get balanced scoring, but his recent move to put Benn on the second line with Radek Faksa and Tyler Pitlick might be the one that finally works. That line has 12 points in their last 15 combined games, giving the Stars a top six that is more dangerous than having Benn stay with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. I don’t get the feeling the change will last because Benn is too good with the top group, but from a "totals" perspective I’m more comfortable betting an "under" with a team that’s still trying to solidify their combinations.

The pressure mounts for me to not be so high in the Penguins, but everyone said that last year when Kris Letang went out and everyone that called into our radio said I was nuts. I think they were saying that right up to handing Letang his ring. No matter how talented Pittsburgh is, it's tough to play back-to-back nights against quality opponents.

The strength of the Pens is clearly their power-play unit, but Saturday against the Leafs it looked lethargic at best. If this is going to be a trend, I’m going to get on that wave a bit with my NHL picks and bet the "under" in tonight’s game, especially after being handled easily. Teams tend to go back to basics after a bad loss and that means defense.

See you at the cashier’s cage!

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