Penguins are home moneyline favorites in Stanley Cup Final Game 5

Leave a comment

Having yet to trail during any game so far in the Stanley Cup final, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are in position to clinch the championship when they host the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 on Thursday.

The Penguins’ depth, along with money goaltending from the 22-year-old rookie Matt Murray, has helped them take a 3-1 lead in the NHL championship series. For Game 5, the Penguins are listed as a -160 moneyline favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the Sharks installed as a +144 underdog.

The total is set at five goals. The total has gone UNDER in nine of the Sharks’ last 20 playoff road games, with three pushes. It has also gone UNDER in nine of the Penguins’ last 20 playoff home games, with four pushes.

The Penguins, dating to mid-November this season, are 13-7 in their last 20 games at the Consol Energy Center where they were a moneyline favorite of -150 or more according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

As many experts anticipated going into the series, the Penguins’ speed and luxury of having four lines that can contribute offensively has helped them have the run of play against San Jose. They have gone 435 minutes 46 seconds – the equivalent of more than seven regulation games – without playing with a deficit, since San Jose’s only win in the series was a come-from-behind overtime decision.

Crosby has lived up to his reputation as one of the game’s top all-around centers. Right wing Phil Kessel, who assisted on the first two Penguins goals in their 3-1 win in Game 4 on Monday, is considered the frontrunner to be selected NHL playoff MVP if the Penguins win the Cup. Pittsburgh has also had timely goals from depth forwards such as Conor Sheary and  Eric Fehr.

The Sharks, who are in their first Stanley Cup final, are hopeful that the two-day break since their Game 4 loss will help them regain some energy. San Jose has not been blown out in a game, but its most reliable attackers such as C Logan Couture, C Joe Thornton and RW Joe Pavelski are all goal-less against the Penguins.

The Sharks’ offensive punch has also taken a hit with the loss of LW Tomas Hertl (lower body injury). San Jose is 5-6 on the road in the playoffs, with an even 5-5-1 over/under split.

Thirty-one of the 32 teams that have fallen behind 3-1 in the Stanley Cup final have been eliminated. The only exception was in 1942.

Streaking Rangers Road Underdogs Against Blackhawks for Wednesday

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Patrick Kane and Chicago Blackhawks have some trends which bode well for them cooling off the New York Rangers when the teams meet on Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks are a -130 home-ice favorite with the Rangers coming back at +118 in their matchup on Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The total is at 6.0 goals. The Rangers are 6-0 in their last six games while the Blackhawks are 1-4 in their last five home outings. However, Chicago is a dominant 8-2 in their 10 most recent games against Metropolitan Division opponents.

The Rangers, who are 9-7-2 this season, have been scoring goals on the regular thanks in large part to a fast-paced style of play. Games with a total of 6.0 have gone over the majority of the time so far this season in the NHL. New York is averaging 4.25 goals over its last eight games, and its power play, quarterbacked by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, is on a hot streak at 8-for-19 in the last six games.

Having skilled forwards such as Mika Zibanejad, J.T. Miller and Pavel Buchnevich means the Rangers should not be starved for quality scoring chances. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist typically plays well against Chicago, with a 6-2-2 record, 2.19 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

The Rangers are 2-5 in their last seven road games as the underdog.

The Blackhawks, 8-8-2 on the season, had an ugly 7-5 loss against the New Jersey Devils in their most recent game. But Kane broke a goal drought in that game and rookie Alex DeBrincat is also on a hot streak with three in the past two contests. Chicago is also a strong bounce-back team that is 12-4 in its last 16 games after a game where it scored five goals.

The upshot of that aforementioned loss is that Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will likely shake up his lines, and those adjustments often create a short-term gain for teams.

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford did not complete the game against New Jersey, but he has a good track record against the Rangers with a .921 save percentage in six career games.

The total has gone under in six of the Rangers’ last 10 games, with one push, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The total has also gone under in six of the Blackhawks’ last 10 games, with one push. The total has gone under in five of the Blackhawks’ last seven home games as the favorite.

 

Rangers betting favorites in Original Six matchup against the Bruins

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The New York Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist have had the Boston Bruins’ number for years, and they’re catching a banged-up Bruins club that has been sporadic to say the least early in the NHL season.

The Rangers are a -135 home-ice favorite with the Bruins coming back at +115 with a 5.5-goal total for their meeting on Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Rangers, with Mika Zibanejad averaging a shade more than a point per game, come in on a four-win streak, while the OddsShark NHL Database shows that New York is 5-0 in its last five home games against Boston. The Original Six inter-division rivalry has been home-slanted, with the host going 7-2 in the last nine matchups.

Boston is 6-4-3 so far this season, but nine of its 13 games were on home ice and they have yet to win back-to-back games this season. The Bruins’ scoring depth is also compromised significantly with forwards such as Brad Marchand (upper body), David Krejci (back) and Ryan Spooner (groin) all certain not to play. That could lend itself to the Bruins trying to build a defensive shell around goalie Tuukka Rask and trying to frustrate the Rangers.

New York, 7-7-2 on the year, has been scoring in bunches through Zibanejad, J.T. Miller and Pavel Buchnevich, among others. Lundqvist has been off to a slow start and the total has been at least seven goals in five of the Rangers’ last six games, but the law of averages would suggest that trend could flip.

The total has gone over in four of the Bruins’ last six road games against the Metropolitan Division. The total has gone over in five of the Rangers’ last six home games.

Also on Wednesday, the San Jose Sharks are in a pick’em matchup on the betting lines against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The total is also set at 5.5 goals.

Tampa Bay, which is out of the starting gate rapidly with an 11-2-2 record, comes in with key scorers Steven Stamkos (eight goals in 11 career games against San Jose) and Ryan Callahan (seven in 11) carrying impressive track records against the Sharks. Right wing Nikita Kucherov also leads the NHL in goals.

The Lightning are playing the front end of back-to-back games and are 4-1 in their last five games when they were slated to play the next day. Tampa Bay also has a healthy lineup, including a standout first defense pairing of Victor Hedman and Jake Dotchin.

That said, the Sharks, who are 8-5-0, have been good at the HP Pavilion Arena against Eastern Conference teams that are making the three-time-zone trip to Northern California. Led by D Brent Burns, the Sharks are 6-1 in their last seven games against Eastern teams. San Jose is also coming in with a three-day break since its most recent game, so it will certainly have the energy to put up a fight against a Lightning side that is deeper offensively. Goalie Martin Jones will also be available to make the start.

The total has gone under in four of Tampa Bay’s last five road games against Pacific Division competition. The total has been 5.0 or fewer in San Jose’s last six games.