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Penguins vs. Senators Game 3 Picks

Hockey Betting Lines

If we're being honest with ourselves, the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins are incredibly lucky to be heading to the Great White North level 1-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Ottawa Senators have been tremendous on the road, and if they can find a way to generate just a bit more offense, they might have the goods to win Game 3 and really pour the pressure on the Stanley Cup holders.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators Game 3
Date and Time
: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
NHL Playoff Odds
Penguins vs. Senators Game 3 TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network

Phil Kessel has had so many big moments in his career, many of which have come this season. But no moment in 2017 was bigger than his goal deep in the third period on Monday night to earn the Penguins a 1-0 victory in Game 2 to level this best-of-seven series.

It was a night to remember for both Craig Anderson and Marc-Andre Fleury. Anderson has been fabulous over the course of the first two games, and the one goal that beat him was on a bad break when Kessel ended up with a second whack at net after the first was blocked and fortuitously came right back to him to slide to Anderson's left.

Fleury though, stopped all 23 shots he faced in the game. Even though he only faced one shot in a 21+ minute span between the end of the second period and most of the third, the Sens got off a couple of really good shots on target at the end of the game that other goalies would have let by. For a man who wasn't expected to do anything but sit and cheer on Matt Murray as recently as about 20 minutes before the start of the postseason, Fleury now has two shutouts in 14 games and a save percentage of .932.

Key Factor

The Penguins flat out have to be able to figure out how to get the puck moving in the neutral zone. Sure they won Game 2, but it wasn't because of anything they're traditionally used to doing in the neutral zone. Evgeni Malkin did win a puck along the boards and was incredibly skillful in getting the puck over to a slashing Kessel for what turned out to be the only goal in Game 2, but the problems remained the same.

Pittsburgh's forwards are literally talking to each other on the bench right now, and with Bryan Rust very likely out for Game 3 after not playing most of Game 2 thanks to what appeared to be an upper body injury, it might be time for some mixing and matching.

The good news for the Penguins is that they did get plenty of pucks at Anderson in Game 2, but the fact that the majority of those shots weren't really of the greatest quality has to be of utmost concern.

Penguins vs. Senators Game 3 Free Picks

Is it surprising that the Senators are here in the Eastern Conference Finals? Sure. Should we be surprised that they're level at a game apiece with the Penguins after two games? Perhaps. But as we said at the top, it's hard to say they haven't accomplished their exact goals.

Ottawa is controlling the pace of play and has really brought a tremendous degree of physicality to the Penguins. This is a playoff series through and through at this point, and the Senators aren't backing down. It's hard to say that they've been the better team through two games when they were expected to flat out get run off the ice in the 'Burgh, but they really have been. This probably won't be a fifth straight game holding Pittsburgh to just one goal dating back to the regular season, but we still love pitching our tent above the Sens at home as underdogs in Game 3.

Penguins vs. Senators Game 3 Pick: Play the Senators at
Penguins vs. Senators Game 3 Score Prediction: Senators 3, Penguins 2