Pittsburgh Penguins (46-17-9) at Ottawa Senators (40-24-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday March 23, 2017, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Ottawa Senators +118 / Pittsburgh Penguins -130 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins renew hostilities as both teams jockey for positioning in their respective division races on Thursday night.
The Penguins have qualified for the Eastern Conference playoffs and will at the very least have a chance at defending their Stanley Cup crown but with the way they have been playing this season they are more than a threat to repeat as they have an excellent roster and can win in a number of different ways. Pittsburgh is loaded in the offensive zone led by Sidney Crosby who is right in the mix for the league lead in points and even though Evgeni Malkin is out with an injury this group can still score with the best of them and they will be out to do just that here against the Ottawa Senators. The Penguins are likely to send Matt Murray to the crease here as he will square off against Mike Condon who has retaken the starting role from Craig Anderson who continues to work his way back into every day work.
The Sens meanwhile are knocking on the door for top spot in the Atlantic division as they are three points back of the Montreal Canadiens and have a game in hand but they will be in tough at home against a Pens side that has their sights set on the president’s Trophy. Ottawa has defied the odds this season and have had to battle the injury bug more than a lot of other teams but they continue to persevere and with 10 games left on their regular season schedule they look like a shoe in to make the playoffs unless they have an epic collapse. Ottawa needs the home fans to be big here as Pittsburgh is among the league’s best but if the atmosphere can launch the Sens into one of their best games they could rival the skill set of the visitors.
The Penguins are 4-0 in their last four against the Atlantic and 18-8 in their last 26 Thursday games while the Senators are 1-4 in their last five overall and 5-1 in their last six against the Metro. This is going to be an excellent matchup and while Ottawa is a bit more desperate here I just don’t see the Pens going down here in what should be a tight game.