The Pittsburgh Penguins stopped their recent defensive hemorrhaging with a resounding 5-2 win over the New York Rangers last night and now start a two-game trip to New Jersey against the Devils. They enter just four points out of first place in the East Division. Meanwhile, the Devils are coming off a 6-3 win in Buffalo last night, their first game since trading long-time players Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri to the New York Islanders. The win snapped a four-game winless streak (0-2-2).
Let’s take a look at this East Division contest, just the fourth meeting of the season between these rivals, from a betting perspective in our Penguins vs. Devils betting preview with odds, picks and predictions.
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Penguins vs. Devils Betting Pick
Casey DeSmith will start in goal for Pittsburgh against New Jersey after regular starter Tristan Jarry was in net Thursday against the Rangers. DeSmith will be looking to rebound after two shaky appearances in which he allowed a combined 10 goals on just 41 shots.
The Penguins may rely on their top forwards, Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, and Bryan Rust, to provide the offense in this game. The trio has combined for 10 points in the three games against the Devils so far this season.
The Devils are a team in transition after the big trade and are going lean on a lot of youngsters the rest of the way. Those young players will get a full dose of Pennsylvania hockey as 10 of the Devils’ remaining 18 games come against the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. However, they have a young star in net in Mackenzie Blackwood, and he should get the nod tonight after backup Aaron Dell got the win over Buffalo on Thursday.
The New Jersey power play has three goals over its past two games, and that power play has been spearheaded by leading scorer Pavel Zacha, who netted two of the goals.
Like the Penguins, the Devils could be getting a big player back tonight as well. Captain Nico Hischier has been practicing since Wednesday. He’s been out since Feb. 27 with a frontal sinus fracture.
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Penguins vs. Devils Odds
Here are the lines for Penguins vs. Devils at DraftKings Sportsbook:
Spread: Penguins (-1.5 +135); Devils (+1.5 -162)
Moneyline: Penguins (-182); Devils (+155)
Over/Under: Over 6 (+102)/Under 6 (-124)
Bets We Like With a Penguins Win
Jake Guentzel OVER 0.5 goals (+148, FanDuel)
As mentioned earlier, Guentzel, Crosby, and Rust have played well against the Devils this season. Now that New Jersey is even younger, the Penguins top line should be even more productive. Guentzel is the best goal scorer of the three and comes with good odds. This is a solid value play.
Bets We Like With a Devils Win
Jack Hughes OVER 0.5 goals (+300, FanDuel), or Yegor Sharangovich OVER 0.5 goals (+340 FanDuel), or Janne Kuokkanen OVER 0.5 goals (+370, FanDuel)
Devils coach Lindy Ruff put his budding star Jack Hughes on a line with Yegor Sharangovich and Janne Kuokkanen three games ago, and they have quickly developed great chemistry. The trio combined for nine points against Buffalo, with each scoring a goal and each assisting on their linemates’ goals.
The question is, who is the one to pick in this spot?
They all have great value odds, and if the Devils are going to win, it’s almost a sure bet this line will impact that final score.
Hughes is the best overall talent, but Sharangovich is the best goal scorer.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Penguins to win and UNDER 6 Goals (+180, DraftKings)
DeSmith may have struggled over his last two games, but before that, he played really well for the Penguins, winning six of seven starts. That includes a game in New Jersey where he held the Devils to just one goal. With Blackwood in goal for the Devils, he’ll keep the game close, but the Penguins are the better team and should come out on top, making this parlay a solid payday.
Penguins vs. Devils Prediction
The Penguins still have a lot to play for.
The Devils are now shifting gears into evaluation mode. A young team always plays hard after a big trade, and the Devils did that Thursday. But the second game after the big trade is where teams usually land with a thud.
If it weren’t for Blackwood being in the net and the Penguins also playing on back-to-back nights, this one would be a blowout.
Instead, it will be a low-scoring affair but still lopsided when it comes to puck possession.
Pick: Penguins 3, Devils 1
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