Welcome to NHL Predictions! Each day, Last Word On Hockey will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. In today’s NHL predictions, we’ll cover the one game happening on December 30th. This featured game should be must-watch hockey, which is the Ottawa Senators vs Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ottawa Senators vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Senators 0-0 Penguins
Ottawa comes off an embarrassing 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. Thomas Chabot, who left the game for a spell after taking a puck on the right hand, forced overtime, but the Senators only got the single point. Jack Hughes got the overtime winner for the Devils.
The Senators have lost three of their last five as they sit in seventh in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa isn’t overly talented, but they’re young and play hard for head coach D.J. Smith. Anthony Duclair is enjoying a great season leading the Senators in goals (21) and points (30). Chabot leads the club in assists with 19 in the 2019-20 season.
Craig Anderson played last night’s game in goal for the Senators and Anders Nilsson is still listed on injured reserve. Marcus Hogberg could be in line to get the start in between the pipes for Ottawa.
The Sens came into Sunday’s action scoring 2.79 goals per game and giving up 3.18 per game. Ottawa’s power play is toward the bottom of the league with an 11.7 percent conversion rate and it kills off 82.4 percent of shorthanded situations.
The Penguins are coming off back-to-back wins over the Nashville Predators on Friday and Saturday. Pittsburgh got a late power-play goal from Jake Guentzel to seal a 6-4 win against Nashville on Saturday night. Guentzel and Alex Galchenyuk each posted a goal and an assist in the victory.
Pittsburgh has won six of its last seven games and is just one point out of second place in the Metropolitan Division. Guentzel is the top goal-scorer for Pittsburgh with 19 goals and is tops in points with 40.
Matt Murray started and made 44 saves in Saturday’s win, so Tristan Jarry will likely get the nod in net for the Penguins. Jarry is the hot hand and head coach Mike Sullivan will ride him as long as he can.
The Penguins score 3.39 goals per game and allow 2.68 per game. Pittsburgh scores on 19.3 percent of power plays and is 81 percent successful on the penalty kill.
Pittsburgh was only supposed to tread water with the loss of Sidney Crosby, but Evgeni Malkin and Guentzel have picked up the offence. Jarry and Murray have been solid in net for the Penguins, who have a legitimate shot of securing home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ottawa is progressing better as a young team, but it’s a tall order to stop Pittsburgh.
Prediction: Penguins win 4-2.
OTTAWA, ON – DECEMBER 08: Ottawa Senators Defenceman Dylan Demelo (2) skates along the boards during second period National Hockey League action between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators on December 8, 2018, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)