NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Ducks

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Ducks article feature image

Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

  • The Penguins and Ducks go head-to-head on Friday night.
  • These teams have different priorities at the moment as the Penguins are fighting for a playoff spot and the Ducks are seemingly looking ahead to the draft.
  • Greg Liodice details how that factors into his best bet below.

Penguins vs. Ducks Odds

Penguins Odds-275
Ducks Odds+220
Over/Under6.5 (+102/-124)
Time10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

As they cling onto a playoff spot, the Pittsburgh Penguins head west to take on the lowly Anaheim Ducks. Pittsburgh is lucky to be where it is after goalie Tristan Jarry missed a ton of time. The Penguins are 5-4-1 in their past 10 games, but with the way they've played, it’s hard to trust them.

Anaheim is solely focused on the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. The Ducks are tied for the third-worst record in the league, but have played pretty decent hockey as of late. The Ducks have taken their past three games into overtime and won two of them. They are playing with nothing to lose.

Here’s a look at our odds, as well as our prediction for the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Anaheim Ducks.

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Pittsburgh Penguins

When thinking of the Penguins, thoughts will always center around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as they have been staples for this franchise for over a decade. Jake Guentzel is one of the more underappreciated players in this league and is averaging a point per game. Behind them, Rickard Rakell has chipped in a good amount of goals as a serviceable second liner.

Pittsburgh’s offense has clicked fairly well. It’s the 12th-ranked offense in even strength with a 52.15 xGF% (expected goals) and is 13th in creating high-danger chances.

Had Jarry played a little bit more, I would’ve expected the Penguins' goals against average to be down. They allow 3.06 goals per game, which isn’t terrible, and are toward the middle in xGA% (expected goals allowed).

Because Jarry hasn’t played much hockey, the Penguins have been forced to put all their eggs into Casey DeSmith’s basket. DeSmith is a fine backup, and has done his best in Jarry’s absence with a .911 SV% since January 1 and +2.4 goals saved above expected (GSAx).

Anaheim Ducks

Trevor Zegras has already solidified himself as a star in this league and has 43 points in 52 games. Troy Terry is also an exceptional player coming off his second straight All-Star Game, but he left Anaheim's most recent game with an upper-body injury. Beyond that, Adam Henrique has always been one of the more efficient players and Mason McTavish is having a productive rookie season.

Anaheim is playing better, but it still ranks as the worst even-strength offense. The Ducks are playing to a 39.04 xGF% and are 22nd in high danger chances. The power play isn’t even good as it ranks fourth worst.

I don’t think it needs to be said, but the Ducks are also the league’s worst defense. They have a bottom-five penalty kill, allowing just under four goals per game, and are by far the worst team in xGA.

After an abysmal start to the season, it looks like John Gibson is starting to find his game. Since January 16th, the Pittsburgh native is posting an elite .930 SV%, and his GSAx continues to rise — it’s currently -2.4.

Penguins vs. Ducks Pick

I’m steering away from picking a moneyline winner because of the “trap game” scenario. The Ducks don’t have much to play for, which could be detrimental for Pittsburgh.

These teams squared off in Pittsburgh last month and the Penguins won 4-3 in overtime. I think they’re both capable of putting a few past the goalies, which is why I think the total is the way to go.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but, along with their bottom-five penalty kill, the Ducks commit the fourth-most penalties. While the Penguins’ power play isn’t devastating, it’s the perfect opportunity for the heavy hitters in Crosby, Malkin and Guentzel to feast a few times.

Don’t overthink this. We have a league-worst defense, and a backup goalie taking the net. Target the over.

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