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Pittsburgh Penguins Game 3 betting favorites facing the Senators in Ottawa

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Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins keep losing players without being any worse for wear, but a general assumption of that continuing could boost prices on the underdog Ottawa Senators.

The Penguins are a -130 moneyline favorite against the +110 underdog Senators with a 5-goal total in their Game 3 matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Over the last five seasons the Penguins are 7-4 straight-up in 11 games as a road favorite during the month of May, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. While some offensively gifted teams can get frustrated by the suffocating defensive tactics deployed in playoff hockey, the Penguins have had seven of their last nine games in May go UNDER and have managed to go 5-4 in those contests.

The Eastern Conference final is tied 1-1 heading into the Game 3 matchup, with the two teams having combined for a paltry four goals. Pittsburgh has also come away with injuries to D Justin Schultz (shoulder) and RW Bryan Rust (upper body). Ottawa could have LW Viktor Stalberg (lower body) back as it looks to generate more offense.

The Penguins, 13-7 in their last 20 games overall, did not score during the first two periods of either of the series’ first two games as they struggled to solve Ottawa’s 1-3-1 defensive alignment. It was not for lack of trying, as Crosby and Malkin’s respective lines generated a lot of shots and effectively played keepaway.

If Schultz is unable to play, Pittsburgh will be ever more reliant on D Olli Maatta to help create offensive rushes that negate Ottawa’s trapping techniques.

The Senators, 10-10 in their last 20 games overall, had just 29 even-strength shot attempts in Game 2, when they were shut out and barely tested Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. However, they are 6-3 in their last nine home games as an underdog of +110 or more on the moneyline.

The change of venue to the Canadian Tire Centre means Ottawa’s most reliable offensive players such as RW Bobby Ryan, C Kyle Turris and C Jean-Gabriel Pageau will have more favorable line matchups. And, of course, Ottawa has an X-factor with playmaking defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Ottawa is 9-1 over its last 10 home games against Metropolitan Division teams, but trends such as that are hard to sustain in the parity-driven NHL. The total has gone UNDER in these teams’ last four meetings.

 

Predators take 2-1 lead into Game 4 vs. Ducks as clear betting favorites

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As great as their record at home in the playoffs is, the Nashville Predators also consistently take care of business when installed as a big favorite, be it home or away.

The Predators are -140 betting favorites against the +120 underdog Anaheim Ducks with a five-goal total in their Game 4 matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Nashville is 10-0 straight-up in its last 10 home playoff games and the OddsShark NHL Database also reveals that the team is 12-3 in their last 15 games as favorite of -135 to -500 on the moneyline. Eight of the last nine games within that sample have gone under. Nashville is also 5-2 SU in its last seven home games against Anaheim, including a win on Tuesday that gave it a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Final.

Anaheim, who is 13-7 overall in its last 20 games, faces a virtual must-win situation. The Ducks will need to do a better job screening and obscuring the sight lines of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne than they did during Game 3. The trend in the series has been that Anaheim, whose forward corps is led by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Jakob Silfverberg, has been getting fewer shots on goal and fewer shot attempts than Nashville. Perry scored in Game 3, but had only two total shots.

John Gibson will start in goal for Anaheim, which will be missing Kevin Bieksa, Patrick Eaves and Logan Shaw due to injuries.

Nashville, which is 12-8 overall in its last 20 games, might well be the smart-money choice to win the Stanley Cup even though they had the fewest points in the regular season of any playoff team.

The Predators have a deep cadre of offensively astute defensemen in Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban. During Game 3 on Tuesday, the Predators’ defensemen took more shots on goal (21) than the entire Ducks team. Filip Forsberg has scored in all three games of the series and has a total of 13 shots on goal.

While the Predators seem to have all the momentum, Anaheim has lost back-to-back games only twice within its last 30 games overall.

The total has gone over in five of Anaheim’s last seven games on the road heading into the Game 4 matchup on Thursday. The total has gone under in nine of Nashville’s last 12 home games, with two pushes. Overall, the team scoring the first goal is 48-25 during the playoffs this year.

Washington Capitals betting favorites against Pittsburgh Penguins in key Game 4 matchup

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With Sidney Crosby sidelined, oddsmakers have shifted their lines in favor of the Washington Capitals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Capitals are the -125 betting favorite against the +105 underdog Penguins with a five-goal total for their Game 4 matchup on Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

This season, the Capitals are 7-7 straight-up on the road as a moneyline favorite of -115 to -135, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Washington is also 9-2 in its last 11 road games.

The road team has won every game so far in the two series that are in action on Wednesday.

Home-ice advantage has been a misnomer in the playoffs, with road teams going 30-23.

The Capitals trail the best-of-seven series 2-1, but have outshot the Penguins in each game thus far. With Crosby (concussion) sidelined, captain Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals stand an excellent chance of maintaining an edge in generating chances. The performance of goaltender Braden Holtby is an ongoing concern for Washington, as his save percentage has dipped to .914 in the playoffs (11 percentage points lower than in the regular season).

Historically, the Penguins have managed to maintain their usual level of defensive play when Crosby is out of the lineup, but typically suffer a drop-off in goals and shots. Much of that sample also came while Pittsburgh, which is 6-2 in its last eight home playoff games, had the services of Kris Letang (out with neck surgery) on defense.

That said, Pittsburgh, with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel both ranking among the leading point-getters so far in the playoffs, should be competitive on home ice. Winger Conor Sheary (concussion) will also miss the game for the Penguins.

The total has gone over in only two of the Penguins’ last 10 home games in the month of May.

Elsewhere, led by Hart Trophy finalist Connor McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers (-125) are a slim favorite at home against the Anaheim Ducks (+105) with a 5.5-goal total for their Game 4 matchup on Wednesday.

The experienced Ducks, who might reunite top center Ryan Getzlaf with right wing Corey Perry after separating them to create more offensive depth in Game 3, are 7-3 in their last 10 divisional home games.

Anaheim will continue to be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa. Right wing Patrick Eaves (lower body) did not practice after Game 3.

McDavid and the Oilers, who are receiving their first exposure to the playoffs, are 11-2 in their last 13 home games against fellow Pacific Division teams. While Edmonton was defeated decisively in the most recent game (6-3 at home on Sunday), they have not lost consecutive games since March 12. In the first round against the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton won the series’ final two games after being clobbered 7-0 in Game 4.

The total has gone under in four of the Ducks’ last seven road games against the Oilers at online sports betting sites.