Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators Game 4
Date and Time: Friday, May 19, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
NHL Playoff Odds: Penguins -129, O/U 5
Penguins vs. Senators Game 4 TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network
It only took 12:52 for Marc-Andre Fleury to find himself on the bench on Wednesday night. He allowed four goals on just nine shots before ultimately giving way to Matt Murray. Let the goaltending controversy begin in the 'Burgh.
Of course, Fleury deserves his place in the Pittsburgh net. His one bad game shouldn't deter him from being the net minder in Game 4, though his leash is surely starting to get short with the Pens needing to win three out of five games against a team that seemingly has their number to get into the Stanley Cup Finals.
Ottawa continues to deserve all the credit in the world for effectively frustrating the heck out of the Penguins. Sidney Crosby did score a goal, but by the time he lit the lamp, the game was 5-0 and far out of reach. Evgeni Malkin, who was again kept off the stat sheet for everything aside from 12 minutes of penalties, is visibly flustered, as are the rest of the Pittsburgh stars. The Penguins flat out can't get off to the races and have been slowed down time and time again in the neutral zone and simply don't have answers. That's a scary proposition for a team playing without the majority of its second-tier players behind Crosby, Malkin and Phil Kessel.
1 – The exact number of goals the Penguins have scored in each of their last five games against the Senators.
This isn't a bad offensive team. But it is a team that can't figure out how to breakdown one of the better defenses in the NHL. The Senators have kept the Pens to 26, 29, 28, 35 and 30 shots respectively in five games dating back to January, and Craig Anderson has been equal to most of them.
The biggest stat of the bunch? The Senators have allowed just two goals on 15 penalty kills over the course of the five games. They haven't taken a lot of dumb penalties, and when they have been in the sin bin, they've generally gotten the job done against arguably the most lethal power play unit in hockey.
Penguins vs. Senators Game 4 Free Picks
It's gut check time for the Penguins. They haven't been pushed like this before in these playoffs, and it's hard to say that this is anything but a huge shock. Ottawa is a good team for sure, but it was one of the longest shots on the board to win the Stanley Cup a month and a half ago and wasn't really expected to reach this point and certainly wasn't expected to even remotely be in this series at this point.
But we just don't see it for Pittsburgh. Though the Stanley Cup Playoffs are generally notable for their unpredictability, this series looks quite clear to us. If Senators are flat out the better team right now, and we're getting them at home with plus odds. It's just too good of a spot to pass on, even if it ultimately loses. The value here on Erik Karlsson and his mates to merely continue to dominate the neutral zones and the battle on the glass is insane for this time of year, and it would take a fool to pass on the opportunity.
Penguins vs. Senators Game 4 Pick: Lay the Lumber With Ottawa at BookMaker.euPenguins vs. Senators Game 4 Score Prediction: Senators 4, Penguins 2