Penguins are home moneyline favorites in Stanley Cup Final Game 5

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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.

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.