Senators In Tough Against Top-Seeded Penguins In Eastern Conference 2nd Round
The Ottawa Senators had little issue taking care of the Montreal Canadiens in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Ottawa split the first two games in Montreal as the lower seed, then went on to win three-straight and clinch the online sports betting series. The Senators dominated the Canadiens in the series-clinching victory, and will look to carry that momentum in to the second round where they face a very tough match up against the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Nobody has forgotten Matt Cooke’s hit on Erik Karlsson that was expected to keep the All-Star defenseman out for the season, and with Karlsson back and a whole lot more on the line, things should get a lot more interesting in a hurry.
NHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators
Craig Anderson is second in the NHL with a .950 save percentage, and was brilliant for the Senators against the Canadiens. Anderson stood on his head and made several highlight reel saves in every game, and that was one of the more underrated parts of the series. However, the Penguins are bound to get a lot more traffic to the front of the Ottawa net and make life tougher for Anderson, while doing a better job protecting Tomas Vokoun than Montreal did with Carey Price. The Senators still don’t have Jason Spezza and aren’t very strong up the middle at the center position, which is another area where Pittsburgh will look to exploit the match ups and put up some big sports betting numbers up front.
The Penguins’ goaltending was in the online betting spotlight in the opening round for much different reasons, but the bright side is that the team has seemed to solve its issues heading in to round two. Marc-Andre Fleury posted an abysmal 3.40 goals against average and .891 save percentage before head coach Dan Bylsma finally made the decision to turn to Tomas Vokoun, and the results were impressive. Vokoun went 2-0 with a 1.41 goals against average and .957 save percentage in games six and seven, including a crucial 31-save shutout in game six that helped turn the series. The Penguins will need Vokoun to be at his best opposite Lundqvist, and give the offense a chance to go to work.
There is no doubt that Pittsburgh has the better offense of the two teams, as they led the league in scoring during the regular season. Evgeni Malkin is tied for the league-lead in points with 11 heading in to the second round, and Pascal Dupuis is tied for the league-lead in goals with five. Captain Sidney Crosby and newcomer Jarome Iginla are tied for second on the team with nine points each, and will only continue to get better as they develop chemistry on a line together. The Senators took care of business against Montreal with a strong group of depth players, but will have a much more difficult time keeping up against the faster, stronger, and more talented Penguins in the second round.
NHL Betting Pick: Penguins in Six
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