Pittsburgh Penguins (49-19-11) at New Jersey Devils (28-37-14)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 6, 2017, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New Jersey Devils +162 / Pittsburgh Penguins -180 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Pittsburgh Penguins look to move closer to clinching home ice in the first round as they head into New Jersey to battle the Devils on Thursday night.
The Penguins head into New Jersey on Thursday looking to create some separation in the Metro division on the Columbus Blue Jackets as they currently hold a three point edge with three games remaining. Pittsburgh will not catch the President’s Trophy winning Capitals and it looks as though they are destined to match up with the Jackets in the opening round of the playoffs unless Columbus loses out and the Rangers run the table but the likelihood of that is bleak with the season wrapping up this weekend. Pittsburgh was dealt a huge blow though as they learned they’d be without star defenseman Kris Letang for the rest of the year and while the team does have a ton of support in his absence he is a key contributor on the blue line and adds an added dimension to the team’s offense and special teams as well.
The Devils meanwhile have had a terrible season and things don’t get any easier for them as they host the defending champions on Thursday night in their third to last game of the regular season. New Jersey made a move in the offseason when they acquired Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers but it hasn’t quite paid dividends as Hall has been relatively quiet and his former team is on the verge of winning the Pacific division but the Devils sit dead last in the Eastern Conference. The Devils need help in a hurry and that should come via the draft in July as they will likely land one of the top three available prospects and while none fit the caliber of a McDavid, Matthews, or Eichel they are certainly capable of helping this Devils team who has holes all across the board.
The Pens are 25-10 in their last 35 following a win and 37-14 in their last 51 against the Metro while the Devils are 3-15 in their last 18 Thursday games and winless in their last five games following a victory. New Jersey is terrible and while they have nothing to lose I don’t see them challenging a Pens side looking to head into the playoffs with home ice and some confidence.