Date/Time: Friday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Television: NBC Sports Network
Money line: Ottawa (+173) Pittsburgh (-191)
Total Line: 5.5
The Ottawa Senators stunned the hockey world as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a relative easy 4-1 opening round series victory over No. 2 Montreal. It outscored the Canadiens 20-9 with an average of four goals a game after averaging just 2.3 goals in the regular season. Kyle Turris was the leading scorer for the Senators this year with just 12 goals, but he tallied three more in the series against Montreal.
This burst of offense came to a screeching halt in Game 1 of this series with a 4-1 loss as 170 road underdogs this past Tuesday night. The total stayed UNDER the 5.5 line in that game after it went OVER in four of Ottawa’s previous six games. Craig Anderson was spectacular in goal against Montreal with a goals-against-average of 1.8 in that series, but he looked very average on Tuesday night by allowing four goals on just 30 shots.
Pittsburgh came into the postseason as clearly the best team in the conference, but hardly played the part through the first four games of its opening round series against the New York Islanders. With the best-of-seven series tied 2-2, the Penguins decided to turn to Tomas Vokoun in goal in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury and the move paid off with back-to-back victories to win in six games. Vokoun has posted a GAA of 1.28 and a .962 save percentage in three playoff starts in which Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents 12-4.
Vokoun may have provided a necessary spark on defense, but the Penguins’ offensive attack has been on fire all season long. They led the NHL this season in scoring with 3.4 goals-per-game, but in seven playoff games this average has exploded to 4.14. The only time that Pittsburgh failed to score at least four goals was in a 4-3 loss to New York in Game 2. Sidney Crosby returned from an extended layoff due to a broken jaw and has scored three goals while adding six assists. The two biggest stars have been Pascal Dupuis with a team-high six goals and Evgeni Malkin with three goals and 10 assists.
Free NHL Playoffs Pick:
Ottawa did manage to get off 36 shot on-goal in Game 1 and it should be able to squeeze a few more pucks past Vokoun on Friday night, but it still will not be enough to outscore Pittsburgh to steal a win on the road in Game 2
Pittsburgh 4 Ottawa 3
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.