Had Ottawa gone down three games to none against Pittsburgh after Game 3, their second-round matchup with the Eastern Conference’s top seed would likely be all but over. However, the Senators held on for a double-overtime win and there is a lot on the line as the two prepare for Game 4 on Wednesday in Canada’s capital city. Here’s a look at the matchup and the NHL betting lines:
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators
Odds: Penguins -145
Colin Greening’s goal 7:39 into the second overtime settled the score as the Sens held off Pittsburgh for a 2-1 win, but there were plenty of other factors leading up to that. Captain Daniel Alfredsson was Ottawa’s best skater throughout the game and scored the shorthanded game-tying goal with 29 seconds left in regulation, while the return of Jason Spezza from injury clearly game the team a spark, even if he looked rusty at times. Craig Anderson rebounded from getting pulled in Game 2 by stopping 49 shots in an up-and-down game, and the Senators will need another performance like that if they’re going to try and play Pittsburgh’s game again.
Tyler Kennedy opened the scoring with 1:07 remaining in the second period, but that is all the Penguins could muster on the road, where two of their three losses have come so far in the postseason. All of the Pittsburgh big guns were kept quiet as Evgeni Malkin couldn’t find the back of the net on 10 shots, Sidney Crosby was being hit every time he touched the puck and the rest of the team couldn’t step up. Tomas Vokoun made 46 saves, but he wasn’t at fault for the game winner as there was a lot of traffic in front of him and quite frankly, the Senators simply looked like they wanted to win more at the end of the game than the Penguins. Pittsburgh may have felt like they were going to cruise through their first-round series with the New York Islanders, and received a wake-up call. This game may have been another one of those calls.
Pittsburgh will enter Game 4 as the favorite once again, but they know they’re in for a dogfight now and the Ottawa crowd will be hostile. The Senators have won all three of their games on home ice in the playoffs and this will be a real test of Pittsburgh’s worth because of their road issues. The Penguins need their best players to lead the way, but veterans like Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow need to support the stars.
This is a game that could go to overtime because the Senators aren’t going to roll over for the Penguins, but Pittsburgh will prove that they’re worthy of being a #1 seed and one of the top favorites for the Stanley Cup. It may be a win on the road against a #7 seed, but the Penguins need to learn how to overcome adversity and they’ll pull out a tough win on the betting lines on Wednesday night in Ottawa to go up 3-1.