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The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to avoid losing the first two games of the NHL Eastern Conference Final when they host the Ottawa Senators as big favorites for Game 2 on Monday.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins looked like they were coming off a seven-game series in the opener, losing to the Senators for the third straight time, dating back to the regular season.
Betting line: The Penguins opened as -205 favorites (wager $205 to win $100); the total is at five goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. Line updates and matchup report.
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.2-2.4 Penguins. NHL picks on every game.
Why the Senators Can Pay on the NHL Lines
Ottawa got a little extra rest heading into Game 1, and it showed early on. The Senators scored at the 14:32 mark of the first period and held Pittsburgh scoreless until Evgeni Malkin tallied the tying goal at almost the exact same time in the third. Bobby Ryan lit the lamp for the game-winner at the 4:59 mark in OT to give the Sens a 1-0 series lead.
Ryan finished with one goal and an assist, while goaltender Craig Anderson turned in a solid performance between the pipes, stopping 27 of 28 shots. If Anderson and Ottawa’s defense can play like that again, the team will head home with a 2-0 series lead.
Why the Penguins Can Pay on the NHL Lines
The Penguins were understandably tired in Game 1 but still showed the heart of a champion with Malkin’s tying goal in the third. They are running on fumes to some degree because of injuries and a lack of rest but will also realize they cannot afford to lose the first two games at home.
Pittsburgh lost Game 1 of last year’s Eastern Conference Final at home by a 3-1 margin after knocking out the Washington Capitals in the previous round, then won two straight over the Tampa Bay Lightning. That experience will help the Pens here.
Smart Betting Pick
While bettors will have to pay another high price to back Pittsburgh at home in Game 2, it will be worthwhile. Before their Game 1 loss, the Penguins had won nine of their previous 10 home meetings with Ottawa.
The Senators have not beaten Pittsburgh twice in a row on the road since 2010. That will not happen again in this spot, so bet the Pens at online sports betting sites to even this series going back to the Canadian Tire Centre.
NHL Betting Trends
Ottawa is 6-2 SU in its past eight games.
Ottawa is 5-2 SU in its past seven games on the road.
Pittsburgh is 2-4 SU in its past six games.
All NHL lines and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.