December 27, 2016

NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Metropolitan Division action on Tuesday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins try to keep pace with the red hot Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins will head to the Prudential Center in Newark to take on the struggling New Jersey Devils. Pittsburgh has been playing very well–and very consistently–of late winning 9 of their last 12 games. New Jersey, on the other hand, has lost 7 of 8 overall though they have been very good at the Prudential Center this season with a record of 9-2-2. The Penguins have only been ‘so-so’ away from home with a record of 7-6-3.

Pittsburgh will go with Marc-Andre Fleury in net and the veteran goaltender has struggled this year but is starting to find his form. On the season, Fleury has a 9-5-4 record with a 3.25 goals against average and a 0.905 save percentage. He’s been splitting time of late with last year’s ‘rookie phenom’ Matt Murray. New Jersey will counter with Corey Schneider who has a record of 10-11-5 to go with a 2.86 goals against average and a 0.905 save percentage.

The Penguins continue to play without defenseman Kris Letang and that’s a big issue on both ends of the ice. Letang is the anchor of their defensive unit and one of the best playmaking defensemen in hockey. Even with Letang sidelined the Penguins’ offense looks to be just too potent for New Jersey. Pittsburgh is ranked #1 in goals per game (3.40) while New Jersey is tied for #26 (2.26). Schneider just isn’t good enough to ‘steal a win’ against just a nasty offensive unit.

New Jersey has given the Penguins problems on their home ice, winning 3 of the last 5 meetings. The Penguins won the previous meeting at home 4-1 on the final day of action before Christmas. Every game is important for Pittsburgh since they just can’t assume that Columbus will ‘fade’ as they continue to pile up win after win. If they don’t keep pace with wins in these ‘winnable’ games they could easily watch the Blue Jackets open a margin atop the division. At this point, Pittsburgh is the significantly better team and Sidney Crosby has been almost unstoppable of late. Just can’t see the Penguins not taking two points here and staying within shouting distance of C-Bus.