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Sharks Underdogs Against Penguins Heading into Stanley Cup Final

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The San Jose Sharks are gunning for a third straight road win on Monday as they get set to make their first-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 as +135 betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Crucial road victories in Games 2 and 5 powered San Jose to a six-game series win over the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final, lifting their league-best road win total this season to 33 games heading into Monday’s Sharks vs. Penguins betting matchup at Consol Energy Center.

After posting 28 road victories during the regular season, the Sharks have continued their road warrior ways in the postseason, winning five of nine away from the SAP Center, and have surrendered just five total goals over their past three road contests.

Goaltending has played a crucial role in the Sharks’ march to the Stanley Cup Final, with Martin Jones rising to the occasion during his first NHL playoff run, leading the Sharks to underdog series wins over the Blues and the Los Angeles Kings.

With Jones holding opponents to just 13 total goals over his past seven outings, the Sharks’ skaters have been able to focus on offense, outshooting opponents in five of their past seven while racking up 27 total goals, pushing the total OVER in each of their past three games.

Game 1 marks Pittsburgh’s first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since their last championship victory in 2009. It has been a tale of two seasons for the Penguins, who struggled to find the net during an early-season string of mediocrity which culminated in the firing of coach Mike Johnston.

The Penguins have been a different club under bench boss Mike Sullivan, finishing the regular season on a 27-10 run, including wins in 14 of their final 16 games according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

Pittsburgh needed seven games to get past the wounded Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final, but get the nod from oddsmakers as a solid -155 favorite to take Game 1, and is a slim -120 favorite on the NHL series prices.

Young goaltending has also played a crucial role in the Penguins’ playoff success, with 22-year-old Matt Murray taking over in place of injured veteran Marc-Andre Fleury to record 11 of the club’s 12 postseason wins, improving to 20-7 on the season.

The clubs split a pair of games this season, each posting road wins, but San Jose has dominated historically, winning 15 of 20 meetings with the Penguins dating back to 1999.

Favored Rangers seek end to home-ice hex against the rival Islanders

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While the teams’ records can be thrown out when the NHL’s two city rivals meet, the New York Rangers do take a strong record in back-to-back games into their clash against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

The Rangers, who are relying on goalie Antti Raanta to hold the fort with superstar Henrik Lundqvist (lower body injury) sidelined, are only 2-7 straight-up in their last nine home games against the Islanders, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

However, the Rangers should have some motivation after an overtime defeat on Tuesday against the also-ran New Jersey Devils. In fact, the Rangers, home favorites for Wednesday’s game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, are 7-3 in their last 10 games when they were playing the second of back-to-back contests.

The Islanders, who are 33-26-12 on the season, should be ready to play desperate hockey since they have had a three-day break and are only 1-4 in their last five games. Coach Doug Weight has shuffled his lines to stimulate some offense, reuniting captain John Tavares (nine points over his last 10 games) with his regular left wing, Andrew Ladd.

The Islanders, who should have fresh legs, could also get a spark in the offensive zone from recent rookie call-up Josh Ho-Sang.

The break might also be a boon for Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who has an unsightly 3.46 goals-against average and .893 save percentage so far this month. Some of that can be put down to the recent play by the Islanders, who are also 3-7 in their last 10 divisional road games.

The Rangers are 45-24-4 on the season, but just 5-7 across their last 12 games, which has dropped them into fourth in the Metropolitan Division. Veteran winger Rick Nash ended a nine-game goal drought against the Devils, but has been shut out so far this season against the Islanders. The Rangers also finished the New Jersey game strongly, leveling 16 shots on goal in the third period.

Raanta is having a strong month with a 2.13 GAA and .924 save percentage. The Rangers are 1-4 in their last five divisional home games.

The total has gone under in three consecutive Islanders’ games for bettors on the NHL odds. The total has gone over in six of the last nine games where the Rangers were favored at home against the Islanders.

Ovechkin, Capitals Road Favorites Against Flyers on Wednesday Night

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The law of averages and both teams’ recent play would suggest Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are due for a better fate in Philadelphia.

The Capitals are a -165 betting favorite against the +135 underdog Philadelphia Flyers with a 5.5-goal total in their NHL betting matchup on Wednesday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Washington won 5-0 on January 15 when the Metropolitan Division rivals last met, but that was at the Verizon Center and the Flyers are 8-2 straight-up in their last 10 home games against the Capitals with any moneyline, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

Presumptive starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth has often fared well against Washington, particularly during the 2016 playoffs.

The Flyers are also 7-3 in their last 10 games at home as an underdog of +135 to +500 on the moneyline. Their price on the moneyline offers much more value than the Capitals’ does.

Washington, which is 39-12-7 this season, will be aiming to avoid its first three-loss skid of the season. Ovechkin has traditionally had the Flyers’ number over his career, as the future Hall of Famer has 31 goals and 18 assists for 49 points in 43 career games against Philly.

Washington is one of the NHL’s deepest teams offensively and, in Braden Holtby, are well spoken for in goal.

The Capitals are 7-3 in their last 10 games on the road as a favorite of -135 to -500 moneyline.

Philadelphia, which is 28-24-7, is at a point of the season where it needs to play desperate to stay in the hunt for a wild card playoff spot. The Flyers, who are only 3-7 in their last 10 home games against their division, have several key players itching to bust out offensively. Captain and No. 1 center Claude Giroux has only two points in his last 10 games and offensive defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has only six over his last 15, three of which came last Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

If Neuvirth is sharp, the Flyers have a chance.

The total has gone over in six of the Capitals’ last 10 divisional road games, but has gone under in four of their past six away contests (with one push). The total has gone under in six of the Flyers’ last 10 home games overall.