Game one of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals will be played tonight, Saturday, May 13 at 7 p.m. E.T. in Pittsburgh. In the regular season, the Senators won two of three against the Penguins. Still, on paper, Pittsburgh is the dominant team. Their offense is impressive and can be tough for opponents to control. On the other hand, the Senators offer a trap D and have been able to slow down the Penguins and neutralize them on offense. Here’s our Senators play Penguins NHL East Finals game one pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators Regular Season Series
In the regular season, the Senators won two of three against the Penguins. Ottawa, with its trap defense, were able control Pittsburgh overall. Although in December the Penguins did come back from a 4-2 deficit against Ottawa and in 32 minutes scored six goals. The Senators mounted their own comeback in May when the two teams met in Ottawa. The Senators scored in the final minutes to tie the game and then won it in a shootout. In the regular season, in the Senators/Penguins series Ottawa scored 11 goals and Pittsburgh 10. However, the Penguins outshot the Senators by about a 30-shot margin. Prior to the playoffs, Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson has done well against the Penguins, accumulating seven points in the three games. In the regular season, Ottawa’s power play scored six of a dozen times.
Senators at Penguins Game One
The Senators will look to slow down the Penguins. If they can control them with their trap defense, they’ll have a shot at winning the series. Plus, goaltender Craig Anderson will have to bring game. In the playoffs, Anderson has done a good job overall. He brings an 8-4 record to the series and with that record is one shutout. His overall solid play includes a save percentage of .914 and a goals against average stands of 2.49. The Senators possess the top defenseman in the world, Karlsson, who thus far in the postseason, he has notched two goals and garnered 11 assists. Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau leads the club in goals with seven. RW Bobby Ryan and center Derick Brassard both have nine points. Those points include a total of seven goals. Statistically the Senators in the regular season were under average as they ended up 22nd in goals scored, 22nd in the penalty kill, and 23rd on the power play.
The Penguins led the NHL in average goals scored, and they had a power play that was ranked third. But their defense was mediocre at best as they were 17th in goals allowed and 20th on the PK. In the playoffs, their centers have been point manufacturers as Evgeni Malkin (5 G, 13 A), Sidney Crosby (4 G, 10 A) and Jake Guentzel (9 G, 5 A) have all stepped up. Plus, winger Phil Kessel has notched four power play goals and a plus/minus of +9. Defenseman Justin Schultz has assisted on four power play goals. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has an 8-4 playoff record with a 2.66 GAA and .927 SV%. He stepped it up big time in game seven against the Capitals.
Keys to the Game
Before we offer our Senators play Penguins NHL East Finals game one pick here are the keys to this first game.
- Ottawa defense must impede Pittsburgh’s offense
- Pittsburgh goaltending needs to be as good as game 7 vs. Caps
- Senator power play has to be stellar
- Injured players on the ice, Penguins may be hampered
- Pace of game- fast favors Pittsburgh, slower helps Ottawa
Senators Play Penguins NHL East Finals Game One Pick
Ottawa has been tough in the playoffs but the Penguins can be explosive. We think that the Senators will win the first game of this series. Our Senators play Penguins NHL East Finals game one pick is Ottawa at +169. We like the over at 5.5 goals.