Penguins at Senators Picks and Game 4 NHL Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/22/2013
This is why the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs are arguably the best in American sports (and Canadian too).
The No. 7 Detroit Red Wings suddenly have control over the record-setting and Presidents' Trophy winning Chicago Blackhawks in their Western Conference semifinals series. And I'm not saying the No. 7 Ottawa Senators are going to upset the No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference semis, but would it really shock anyone? The pressure will certainly move to the heavily-favored Pens if Ottawa can hold serve again at home in Game 4 Wednesday night to knot the series at two.
The Senators took Game 3, 2-1, in double-overtime -- the first double-OT game of these playoffs. Guessing it won't be the last. Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson tied the game with just 29 seconds remaining and an empty Senators net, and Colin Greening won it at the 7:39 mark of the second extra period. It was the second time in this year's playoffs that the Senators tied a game in the final minute of the third and went on to win. The franchise previously had only tied a playoff game with a last-minute goal twice and lost both in overtime.
Greening truly is a hockey player. During the second period, he had to go to the locker room and get a facial gash tended to due to a high stick -- strands of fiberglass had to be removed. Think a golfer would have continued playing with fiberglass in his face? A baseball player? Greening is the first Ottawa player to score a goal in each of the first three games of a playoff series since Alfredsson scored in Games 1-3 of the Eastern finals against Buffalo in 2007.
Penguins at Senators Betting Story Lines
Ottawa got back its best overall offensive player in Game 3 in center Jason Spezza. He hadn't played since Jan. 27 because of a herniated disc in his back. He played 18:40, had four shots on goal and won 60 percent of his faceoffs. He said afterward there were no issues, so he'll be in the lineup again Wednesday. Former Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson played his best game since returning from a lacerated Achilles' tendon. He was on the ice for only 15:37 in Game 2 and was called out by Coach Paul MacLean. Karlsson was on the ice for a game-high 39:48 in Game 3. It looks like Ottawa winger Chris Neil will miss Game 4 after he was helped off the ice in the second OT after being cross-checked by Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik. Neil had 12 points during the regular season and is one of the Sens' bruisers. Defenseman Eric Gryba also is likely out again. He hasn't been cleared to play since Orbik nailed him in Game 1.
Game 3 was Pens goalie Tomas Vokoun's first loss since replacing Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 6 of the first-round series against the Islanders. You can't really blame Vokoun as he made 49 saves in the loss. After a hat trick in Game 2, Sidney Crosby was held pointless on three shots. He played a whopping 33-plus minutes. Evgeni Malkin's eight-game points streak was snapped despite 10 shots on goal.
Pittsburgh could get two players back who missed Game 3. Center Joe Vitale sat with an undisclosed injury after playing the previous four games. Center Jussi Jokinen has been scratched the past five playoff games, and the Pens aren't saying if it's health-related or not. He had 13 points in 14 games with Pittsburgh after being acquired April 3. Both Vitale and Jokinen are good on the faceoff, something Pittsburgh needs. The Pens have won only 45 percent of them in this series.
Penguins at Senators NHL Game 4 Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BookMaker, the Pens are -145 and the Sens +125 with the total at 5.5. Pittsburgh has been favored in all four previous road games in these playoffs and won two of them. Three of the four have gone “over”. Ottawa was -125 in both home games against Montreal in the first round and won both. The “over/under” is 1-1-1 in the Senators' three home postseason games.
The Penguins are 13-4 in their past 17 when their opponent allows two goals or fewer in its previous game. Ottawa is 3-7 in its past 10 playing on two days of rest. It is 5-12 in its past 17 Wednesday games. The over is 7-1 in Pittsburgh's past eight Wednesday games. The over is 16-4-1 in Ottawa's past 21 Wednesday games. The Pens have won five of the past six meetings.
Penguins at Senators Picks and Game 4 Betting Predictions
If Game 4 heads to overtime, you have to like Ottawa's chances as it is 4-0 all-time under MacLean in playoff OT games. Pittsburgh hadn't lost an extra-time game all season; the only NHL team to say that, before Game 3.
Just as a hockey fan, I'd love to see the Senators win because I'd like to see a Game 7 down the road. However, they still have yet to hold a regulation lead in this series -- Pittsburgh has for more than 124 minutes of game action -- and really were outplayed for 59:30 or so of regulation in Game 3. If Ottawa can win Game 4 it would tie the franchise record with its fourth straight home playoff victory. I don't see it unless Craig Anderson truly stands on his head again. Take Pittsburgh and the under.
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