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Senators vs. Penguins Game 2 Picks

NHL Eastern Conference Final Predictions

Surprise, surprise! Most assumed that the Pittsburgh Penguins would draw first blood in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Ottawa Senators. Instead, the Sens walked out of the Burgh with a 2-1 overtime victory, and though the game could have easily tilted the other way, it's hard to say that Ottawa didn't deserve its win. Now, the Penguins have to figure out how to regroup in a hurry to avoid falling into an 0-2 trap that they might not be able to get out of.

Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Game 2
Date and Time: Monday, May 15, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
NHL Playoff Odds: Penguins -225, O/U 5.5
Senators vs. Penguins Game 2 TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network

The bottom line in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals is that the stars shined for one team and flat out didn't for the other. Sure, Evgeni Malkin scored the game-tying goal with 5:35 left in regulation time, but aside from that moment, he, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and the gang were basically as quiet as church mice.

Meanwhile, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his eighth goal of the playoffs 14:32 into the game, and Bobby Ryan ended it 4:59 into overtime.

But before we praise Ottawa, let's go back and look at why Pittsburgh was so inept offensively in this game. The Penguins managed just a total of 28 shots on goal, including just one by Chris Kunitz, one by Patric Hornqvist and two by Crosby. Malkin was more of a help with his four shots on goal, including the one he tipped past Craig Anderson, but he also took a penalty in the game and flat out didn't look like he was himself the entire time.

Alas, that brings us to the man who probably was the true star of the game, Erik Karlsson. He took 37 shifts and played 30:34 over the course of the game, blocking three shots along the way. He played a fantastic game on the boards and virtually never found himself out of position. That's why he's the captain of this team and why he's largely being looked upon as one of the best defensemen this league has to offer.

Key Stat

1 – The number of odd man rushes in the entire game for either team in Game 1.

That one odd man rush though, resulted in Ryan's game-winner. Game 1 featured a high total at 5.5 with -125 vig on the over at the close, but this one was never going to get to the number with the way the game was played. Sure, there were a relatively healthy 63 shots on goal for the game in totality, but there weren't many of the way of takeaways, and most didn't result in anything of note.

Clearly, this plays into the hands of the Senators. Sure, Ottawa has the ability to really press forward as much as the next team, but the faster games are, the better the Penguins are going to be. Credit goes out to the Senators for the way they were able to keep their emotions in check the entire night while finding a way to neutralize all the big boys in black and gold.

Senators vs. Penguins Game 2 Free Picks

It's gut check time for the Penguins. Game 2 will be different than Game 1 for sure, and we suspect there will be more goals in the first period and a half or so than there were in the whole game on Saturday night.

Keep in mind that the Senators are 6-1 in overtime here in these playoffs if this one ultimately gets that far, but we think that Pittsburgh is going to find a way to eke this out. Stars are stars for a reason, and every time a team has had an answer for the Penguins' offense this year, they've had the perfect retort. This won't be easy, but Pittsburgh will find the answer to win Game 2.

Senators vs. Penguins Game 2 Pick: Penguins -225 at BookMaker.eu

Senators vs. Penguins Game 2 Score Prediction: Penguins 5, Senators 4