The Pittsburgh Penguins came into this NHL season with the toughest task of all the teams in the league. They had the unenviable task of playing the entire season with a target on their back that only comes with being the defending Stanley Cup champion. They put together a magnificent regular season, but given the strength of the Eastern Conference, they were handed what looked to be a very difficult road to the Stanley Cup Final. They began with a series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, which the Penguins made look easier than it really should have been. Next up was the Washington Capitals, a team that has struggled in the playoffs, but who was still the favorite to win it. The Pens blew a 3-1 series lead, but still managed to come back and win in 7 games. The big question now is whether they can go on and win it all once again. Find the latest hockey betting odds here.
A Closer Look At The 2017 NHL Betting Analysis For The Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins Strengths
The Penguins are in as very heavy favorites against the Senators in the Eastern Conference Final, with the bookies believing that this one will be over rather quickly. This isn’t really a surprise given that they are so adept at putting the puck in the net. The Penguin were the top scoring team in the regular season, averaging 3.4 goals per game, and they have carried that over into the postseason. It has been their main men – Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel – who have done the bulk of the scoring, and as long as they continue to roll, this team is going to be tough to beat. This is a group that is especially dangerous on the power play, and giving them too many extra man opportunities is a recipe for disaster.
Pittsburgh Penguins Weaknesses
When you have an offense as explosive as the Penguins do, it often comes at the expense of the defense, and that has been the case here. The defense was already a little shaky, but it became even more so with the loss of Kris Letang, arguably their best blueline player, through injury. You also need to remember that goalie Marc Andre Fleury is the back-up on this team, but was forced into action when Murray took an injury when warming up for Game 1 of the first round series. Fleury has played well through the playoffs, but the whole defensive set-up still needs to be viewed as a weakness. Same rules apply with the penalty kill unit on this team. If they are undisciplined, they could put themselves into some real trouble.
Betting the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final
The bookies seem to think that the Penguins will win the series in 5 games (+220), but I am going to with a pick that comes at a better price. The Senators won the regular season series versus the Penguins and may pose some problems. I am taking Pittsburgh to overcome Ottawa in 6 games (+290), and I also like them to go on and win the Stanley Cup.