Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Game 1
Date and Time: Saturday, May 13, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
NHL Playoff Odds
Senators vs. Penguins Game 1 TV Coverage: NBC
It's hard to say that the Senators had the easier route into the Eastern Conference Finals, but that would surely be apt. They needed six games to dismiss both the Bruins and Rangers, and they were able to finish off both series on enemy ice, a true sign of a team that has rallied together and has managed to find a way to win the tough games.
In this last series against New York, a star was born in Jean-Gabriel Pageau. He scored six times in the series, including four in an amazing double-overtime win in Game 2 that really helped set the tone for the rest of the series.
Pittsburgh though, still has seemingly all of the top scorers to deal with in the NHL playoffs. In fact, there are only eight men who have at least 13 points in the first two rounds of the postseason, and the Penguins have four of them, including the leader of the bunch, Evgeni Malkin with 18.
The Penguins earned their way here the hard way for sure. Columbus was the best No. 3 seed in any division in the NHL by a wide margin, while dealing with the Presidents' Trophy winners was never going to be an easy task even if Pittsburgh does continue to own the Capitals. It takes a lot of nerve to win a Game 7 and win one on the road, especially in shutout fashion against one of the best and most polished offensive teams in the NHL.
7 – The number of points captain Erik Karlsson had in the three regular season games between these two teams.
Karlsson, more than perhaps any man in the NHL, needed a few extra days off and was blessed with that thanks to the fact that the Penguins had to play Game 7 on Wednesday. It will be a full four days off for Karlsson between rounds, and that should give him some time to heal up after a brutal stretch of some really long games against both Boston and New York. If he's anywhere near as good in this series as he was in the regular season against Pittsburgh, he could be the superstar the Senators need to advance.
Senators vs. Penguins Game 1 Free Picks
This time of year, it's all about value in the NHL. The playoffs are always tight, and though there are going to be some blowouts from time to time, many of these games come down to just one moment of brilliance one way or the other.
With that being the case, we know that we have a lot of value here on Ottawa. The Senators might not win this series, but we feel like they're going to be getting a big enough price on their heads, particularly after a few extra days off, to warrant betting, even on the road. The Penguins were fallible against Washington at home, losing both Games 3 and 6 on home ice, and that could be a sign of things to come here against the Senators. If we're wrong, we have no problem firing back in Game 2, knowing that a split will probably give us around a 25 percent return on investment or so, a tremendous price for this time of year.
Senators vs. Penguins Game 1 Pick: Back the Senators at BookMaker.eu
Senators vs. Penguins Game 1 Score Prediction: Senators 3, Penguins 2