There’s just one game on the NHL schedule Monday night, taking place in the Steel City, as the Pittsburgh Penguins (23-11-4) host the Ottawa Senators (16-18-5) in an Eastern Conference showdown.
Here is a preview for Monday night’s game between the Senators and Penguins, along with odds and a free pick.
By The Numbers
Despite only winning four of their last 10 games, the Senators have points in five straight games and in eight of their last 10. This season, Ottawa is 21st in goals with 2.79 on just under 30 shots a game. They’re hindered by their league-worst power play, which is successful only 11.4 percent of the time.
Defensively, the Senators are 22nd in goals allowed with 3.21. They’re allowing a lot of shots, 33.1, which ranks 28th but have a much-improved penalty kill that ranks 13th with an 81.6 percent kill rate.
As for the Penguins, they’re on a two-game winning streak and have won eight of their last 10 contests. Pittsburgh has a top-10 offensive unit, ranking eighth in goals and shots per game with 3.39 and 33.2, respectively. However, the Penguins are only average on the power play, finding success on the man-advantage 19.3 percent of the time.
On the other side, the Penguins have also been very good defensively. They are ranked sixth in both goals allowed with 2.68 and in shots with 29.6. Pittsburgh is also 14th on the penalty kill with an 81 percent success rate.
Who To Watch
The Senators have received a big boost this season from Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The center has 18 goals this season, including two last week against the Sabres. But after leading the team in goals for much of the season, Pageau has taken a backseat to winger Anthony Duclair.
Once considered a top prospect, Duclair has found a home in Ottawa, scoring 21 goals, including in three of his last five games. Duclair has helped form a young nucleus with Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot, giving the Senators hope for the future.
For the Penguins, captain Sidney Crosby’s injury 17 games into the season put the team in a tough position. But players like Jake Guentzel have stepped up in a big way. The winger has a team-high 40 points, 19 of which have come via goals.
Guentzel’s strong year has been matched by the veteran, Bryan Rust, who had a two-goal, two-assist day on Saturday against the Predators, and now has 16 goals this year. Those players join All-Stars Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to make the Penguins a Cup contender once again.
It’s expected to be a battle of the backups Monday night in Pittsburgh. The Senators will likely go with Marcus Hogberg in net. Hogberg is 1-1-2 with a 3.10 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
Meanwhile, the Penguins should go with Tristan Jarry, who has been sensational, going 12-5-0 with a 1.87 GAA and a .939 save percentage.
Odds and Pick
As expected, the Penguins are big favorites Monday night, listed at -265. This game has the potential to be close, with a lot of Ottawa’s losses lately coming in overtime or a shootout. But that also means the Senators are tired, especially since they just played the Devils Sunday.
The Penguins are great at home, and with Jarry playing the way he is, Pittsburgh should take care of business. Give me the Penguins -265.