January 10, 2014 at 2:34 PM #53034
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Men Versus the Boys – Pittsburgh Invades Edmonton Friday Night
Two teams going in totally opposite directions meet Friday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are an incredible 17-3-0 in their last 20 games head to Edmonton to take on an Oilers squad that has lost 11 of their last 13 overall. Friday’s game featured Pittsburgh’s top tier offense (3.18 goals per game) against the league’s worst defense in Edmonton (3.46 goals against per game).
Pittsburgh (32-12-1-0) at Edmonton (14-27-3-2)
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, January 10, 2014
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Broadcast: ROOT, TSN
Pens vs. oilers Betting Lines from betonline.com
Pittsburgh Penguins -1½ +160 -177 Ov 5½ -116
Edmonton Oilers +1½ -180 +161 Un 5½ +105
The Pittsburgh Penguins incredible recent run is even more impressive when you consider who was out of the lineup with injury. Evgeni Malkin, defensemen Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik have all spent time on IR and returned recently to bolster what has been an incredible lineup.
The result? Pittsburgh has scored 15 goals in the last three games. Sidney Crosby has 11 points on his current six-game point streak. Malkin has four points in two games since returning from injury, James Neal has 13 points in six games, Jussi Jokinen has six points in three games, Chris Kunitz has nine points in five games, Matt Niskanen has eight points in 10 games and on and on and on.
The defense and goaltending has been a bit of an issue for Pittsburgh as of late – the only perceived hole on this team. The Pens have given up nine goals in the last two games with Marc-Andre Fleury being victimized often in those games. Pittsburgh could turn to Jeff Zatkoff on Friday night – he is 4-0-0 with a 1.75 GAA and .943 save percentage in his last four starts.
The Edmonton Oilers are floundering near the bottom of the NHL again with no real reason for optimism going forward. The team averages 2.54 goals per game but they allow 3.46 goals per game – not exactly a recipe for success. This team did tease its fans with three wins in four games to close out December but they have gone back into a hole – just 1-3-2 since while allowing 25 goals over that span.
The Oilers should be a terrific offensive team but they have scored two or fewer goals in three of their last four games. Nail Yakupov has three goals in his past four games, Sam Gagner has three assists in his past two games, Taylor Hall has 11 points in eight games, Ryan Smith and Jordan Eberle have three points in three games and David Perron has 22 points in 25 games.
There is definitely some fire power on the Oilers squad but the problem is that none of the young guns have a strong defensive presence and that is reflected in the awful goals against for this team.
Ilya Bryzgalov should get the starts Friday – not all that confidence inspiring. He is 1-2-0 with a 4.09 GAA and .871 save percentage in his last three games. Myself, like others are waiting for the impending meltdown by Bryzgalov – stay tuned – it is imminent.
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Over is 9-3-1 in PIT last 13 Fri. games.
• Over is 6-2 in PIT last 8 games following a win.
• PIT are 8-3 in their last 11 road games.
• Over is 10-1 in EDM last 11 home games.
• EDM are 2-7 in their last 9 vs. Metropolitan.
• EDM are 17-41 in their last 58 overall.
Look, there is a chance that the Oilers step up and play the game of the season but I just can’t see it happening. Edmonton just can’t keep the puck out of their own net. With the Pens coming to town, this is an ominous sign. This has all the makings of a good, old-fashioned beat down.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -177 and take a shot at the Spread as well -1½ +160
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