NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Penguins vs. Jets (November 22)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby.
- Pittsburgh rides a two-game road winning streak into Winnipeg on Monday.
- The Jets have dropped two in a row but can regain first place in the Central Division with a win.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Penguins vs. Jets Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Parx. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Pittsburgh will head to Winnipeg, looking to continue posting better results and dig its way out of the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins are now skating at close to full health after consistently skating without a number of key pieces.
Winnipeg will look to get back on track after losses on back-to-back nights in Edmonton and Vancouver as it fights to hold onto the top spot in the Central Division.
Will Pittsburgh be able to claim a very tough road win in Winnipeg as it looks to push for a 15th consecutive playoff berth?
Penguins Should Improve As Stars Return
Pittsburgh will not be happy to 7-6-4 and seventh in the Metropolitan Division, but realistically that is far from embarrassing, all things considered.
The Pens have posted an excellent 54.6 xGF% at even strength, playing without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust and a number of key defenders for most of the season.
The degree to which Pittsburgh’s powerplay is able to bounce back with Crosby now back in the fold could go a long way in determining its ability to post better results going forward, as the team sits dead last with a 11.5% success rate so far.
In Crosby’s five contests, the unit has gone still just 2-for-13, far from dominant. However, that is a small sample size and with a number of pieces shuffling in and out of the top unit over those contests. It will be interesting to see if some continuity moving forward will allow that area to become less of a drag on the Pens overall play, which has been very solid.
Malkin will remain out again Monday, but he has begun skating again as he looks to return from offseason knee surgery.
It would make sense to see Mike Sullivan ride his hot hand in Tristan Jarry, as now does not seem a smart time to try to manage their better goaltender’s start count, and Jarry has been hot in posting back-to-back shutouts.
Jarry has posted quality marks so far, stopping .927 percent of shots faced and a GSAx of 5.1.
Jets Seek Central Division Lead
Winnipeg will have the opportunity to reclaim first place in the Central on Monday night and build upon a 9-2-3 stretch after a slow start to the season.
Winnipeg has seen spectacular play from the duo of Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois, as well as significant contributions from Andrew Copp, Nikolaj Ehlers, and even some solid play from Evgeny Svechnikov of late.
The result has been strong offensive totals, as Winnipeg owns the league’s 13th-best goals for per game at 3.12 so far.
Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler both are likely candidates to find better form as the season wears along, as neither appear to have found full flight after stints on the COVID protocol list, and that could offer another possible boost to offensive production.
Winnipeg owns a very solid 52.96 xGF% over its 14 game tear. A very respectable 2.45 xGA/60 has the Jets’ defensive game looking sharper than we saw a season ago, although the defensive core is still likely the weakest area of the roster.
Thta’s is a scary notion for the rest of the league, as Connor Hellebuyck has proven to be one of few goaltender’s able to provide elite play season after season and has to be considered among the league’s elite.
Hellebuyck will almost certainly garner the start tomorrow having rested Friday against Vancouver. Hellebuyck has been in great form again this season, stopping .918 percent of shots faced and a mark of 7.3 goals saved above expected (GSAx) across 12 games.
Jets vs. Penguins Pick
The Pens are quite likely stronger than their record indicates, and skating at close to full strength now will likely trend them upwards considerably from here on out.
With that said, however, I still do not feel they have shown enough to be worthy of skating at close to pick-em for a game in Winnipeg, given the consistently excellent play from the Jets so far this season and the fleet of offensive talent they currently hold.
Winnipeg has seen offensive contributions from up-and-down the lineup, and should Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler find some better form, this offensive unit could be very deep going forward.
Specifically Scheifele, who is undoubtedly amongst the league’s elite and a player I suspect should dominate again as this season rolls along.
The play of several depth defenders has the Jets looking to have cleaned up last season’s biggest issue to an extent and skating a very complete roster altogether.
Tristan Jarry has been solid of late, but I still feel that Hellebuyck offers a considerable advantage in the pipes, and with Hellebuyck all but certain to get the start, I am happy to lock in Winnipeg at -115 (DraftKings) this far from puck drop and see some value even against a strong Penguins club.
Pick: Winnipeg Jets -115 (Play to -125)