When a team leading a Stanley Cup playoff series 2-1 takes Game 4, it wins the series more than 85 percent of the time. That’s what is on the line Friday night from Ottawa as the surprising Senators look to go up 3-1 on the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Can Pittsburgh prevent Ottawa from winning and tie the series? We’ll found out tonight! So, start gearing up and let’s take a look at the NHL betting preview for Game 4.
Pittsburgh at Ottawa NHL Playoffs Odds & Game 4 Preview
Why Bet On Pittsburgh?
The Penguins might be making a goalie change to Matt Murray, who hasn’t started yet in these playoffs after getting hurt before Game 1 of the first-round series vs. Columbus. Marc-Andre Fleury played great the first two rounds but has not in this series.
Ottawa won Game 3 of the series 5-1 and Fleury allowed four goals on nine shots by 12:52 of the first period. Murray was called into the contest after Fleury surrendered that fourth goal. Murray turned aside 19 of 20 shots. He was originally supposed to be the Penguins’ starter in the playoffs. With Kris Letang done for the season and Justin Schultz now out with an upper-body injury, the Penguins came into Wednesday’s game without their top two puck-moving defensemen. The remaining defense corps had its roughest night of the postseason.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan declined to name a starter for Game 4 immediately following Wednesday’s loss. Fleury got his own net during Thursday’s practice while the other was shared between Murray and Tristan Jarry.
“Quite honestly, I haven’t even gotten there yet,” Sullivan said regarding who the Game 4 starter will be. “We’re still trying to digest this game that we just played and we’ll sleep on it and we’ll make decisions on it moving forward.”
Fleury already has shown an ability to respond well after a poor start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After allowing five goals on 26 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the second round, he made 29 saves in a 2-0 win in Game 7.
Sidney Crosby found the back of the net in Pittsburgh’s Game 3 loss. Pittsburgh was already down 5-0 when Crosby scored early in the third period. He has five goals and 15 points in 14 playoff contests. Phil Kessel and Mark Streit each registered an assist on Crosby’s marker. Schultz and forwards Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist and Tom Kuhnhackl are day to day with injuries after not practicing Thursday.
Why Bet On Ottawa?
The Senators were underdogs in the first round vs. Boston and again in Round 2 vs. the Rangers but keep finding a way. Marc Methot scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist in Ottawa’s Game 3 win. Kyle Turris, Derick Brassard, and Mike Hoffman each recorded a goal and an assist for the Senators. Zack Smith accounted for the Senators’ other marker. It was Smith’s first goal of the 2017 playoffs. Bobby Ryan registered two assists, giving him five goals and 13 points in 15 contests.
Hoffman gave the Senators a 1-0 lead 48 seconds into the game. Methot scored at 10:34, Brassard scored at 12:28 and Smith scored at 12:52 to make it 4-0. The three goals came in a 2:18 span, the fastest the Senators have scored three in the playoffs in their history. Ottawa’s previous record was 4:00 in a 5-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of the 2002 conference semifinals.
Craig Anderson stopped 25 of 26 shots. Anderson had a shutout going into the third period, but he allowed a power-play goal to Crosby at 6:07 of the last frame. Anderson’s surrendered just a goal in each contest of the Eastern Conference Final.
Ottawa was able to control of the neutral zone in Game 3 because of the Senators’ ability to push the pace right from the opening faceoff, most often by having their second man in on the forecheck beat the Penguins’ second man in, and their third man in play high in the zone as either a pass option or a safety valve. On the flip side, the Senators did not allow the Penguins to come out at them with any speed, nor did they give them multiple rush chances. The Senators had a 12-9 advantage in scoring chances, but it was 6-0 before Pittsburgh even got one. Ottawa already had a 4-0 lead.
“We played the way we wanted to play and got back to playing the style where we have more zone time in their zone and not defending as much,” defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. “You could see right off the opening draw, the first probably five, six minutes, we really pushed with zone time, got down there and were able to generate offense with that. The start was really big for us.”
Winger Alex Burrows sustained a lower-body injury during Wednesday’s game. Senators coach Guy Boucher didn’t have an update on Burrows’ health on Thursday.
Pittsburgh at Ottawa NHL Playoffs Game 4 Betting Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins rarely play two poor games in a row. Take them to even things up at 2-2.