In the past three weeks, both the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins have struggled but Pittsburgh is stuck in a serious slump, the Pens have 1 win and 6 losses since February 18th – Even the Detroit Red Wings have more points. During that same span, the Senators have three wins and four losses and have managed to consistently stay at the top in relation to advanced metrics. Ottawa leads the NHL in Corsi for and scoring chances over the course of the last three weeks and they are inside the top 10 in Fenwick for, shots for, high danger corsi for and xGF (expected goals for).
The Pittsburgh Penguins are also producing a lot of chances on the offensive end, as they rank 10th in Corsi for, 9th in Fenwick for and 10th in shots during the last three weeks. Pittsburgh owns a 4.65% shooting percentage during this span, which is dead last in the NHL and their record surely shows that. However, over the entire season, the Penguins own an 8.43% shooting percentage which is right up there with the Oilers, Bruins, Blues and Leafs, so it is clear that this is certainly just a unlucky stretch of games in terms of scoring. Pittsburgh should have no trouble putting pucks into the net with Craig Anderson between the pipes and that is who will draw the start for Ottawa tonight.
Craig Anderson owns a 3.21 GAA and .901% save percentage on the year, those numbers rank Anderson as the NHL’s 44th goalie out of 54 qualified goaltenders. Anderson’s goals against average of 3.21 is the 4th-worst in the entire league and he has now given up at least 4 goals in 13 of his 30 appearances this season. On the other end of the ice, Matt Murray is expected to draw the start for Pittsburgh, he owns a 2.85 GAA and a .900% save percentage for the season – Murray’s .900% save percentage is worse than Craig Anderson’s percentage and ranks 46th of 54 qualified goaltenders. Matt Murray has a -9.56 GSAA (goals saved above average) which is the 7th-worst number in the NHL and has Murray listed amongst the likes of Louis Domingue and Michael Hutchinson for the GSAA metric. Domingue and Hutchinson are two of my favorite goalies to see confirmed when I am placing action on an NHL total.
With two goalies who are struggling to keep the puck out of the back of their net and two offenses producing numerous scoring chances a game, we are recommending a play on the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins over 6.5.
In the three games Matt Murray has started in the last three weeks, he owns a 3.48 GAA and .857% SV%.
Craig Anderson is 5-2 to the over in his last 7 road games, recording a .861% save percentage in those games.
These two teams have seen the over in three of their last four meetings averaging a combined 7.00 goals.
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