Stanley Cup Betting Preview: Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
#5 Ottawa Senators
(44-32-6, 94 pts)
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins
(47-28-7, 101 pts)
How They Got Here: The Sens weren’t always the most prolific offensive or defensive team in the NHL, but thanks to the fact that they had the third most home wins in the Eastern Conference, they were good enough to snare the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Player To Watch: RW Daniel Alfredsson led the team in assists with 50 and points with 70. Had his played the entire season, he probably would’ve led the squad in goals as well, as is 20 was good enough for fourth on the team. It’s been since March 27th since he has lit the lamp though, and he’ll need to step it up for Ottawa to survive the first round.
Goalie Outlook: G Brian Elliott wasn’t nearly the league’s most efficient net minder on the year, which is why he only started 55 games and split time with G Pascal Leclaire. His .916 save percentage is sturdy, but will need to be even higher in the postseason.
Key To Victory: The Ottawa defense allowed teams to take just 28.5 shots on net per game. They’re going to be forced up and down the ice by the Penguins in this series to the point that it is probably uncomfortable. The Senators need to keep the tempo down and avoid letting Pittsburgh break loose on too many odd man rushes, or they’ll get blown away in this series.
How They Got Here: The defending Stanley Cup champs had another solid season, but they really struggled at times against the best teams in the league. That doesn’t bode well for a deep playoff run in spite of the fact that they fell just a couple points shy of capturing yet another divisional crown and the #2 seed in the conference.
Player To Watch: Who else could we possibly be watching aside from C Sidney Crosby? The Richard Trophy winner with 51 goals, Crosby is still the brightest young superstar that hockey has seen in this generation. He also has experience playing under the brightest lights in the world, as he came up with the game-winning goal in the 2010 Olympic Games in overtime for Team Canada against the United States.
Goalie Outlook: G Marc-Andre Fleury only pitched one shutout the entire season, which ranked him dead last amongst full-time starting goalies. The Pens found a way to survive and win the Stanley Cup last year without Fleury coming through with many major efforts, but he’ll probably need to be on his game to pick up an offense that has limped through the year at times.
Key To Victory: Stars need to be stars. Between Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Sergei Gonchar, Pascal Dupuis, Ruslan Fedotenko… the list just goes on and on for guys that could all be fantastic for this Pittsburgh team. In order to win the Cup for a second straight season, the biggest stars are going to have to play like it on the biggest stage once again.
The Final Word: The Penguins are just the better team in this series, and even though they only went 2-2 against Ottawa this season, including losing at Mellon Arena back in January, they should be able to play some crisp hockey and advance through to the Eastern Conference semifinals with ease.
Penguins in 5
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