NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs Kraken (Thursday, February 29)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs Kraken (Thursday, February 29) article feature image

Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby (87) of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Justin Schultz (4) of the Seattle Kraken

Penguins vs. Kraken Odds

Thursday, Feb. 29
10 p.m. ET
Penguins Odds-102
Kraken Odds-118
Over / Under
-130 / +112
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Seattle Kraken on Thursday, February 29 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

The playoff-less Penguins continue their four-game road trip on Thursday night with a stop against the Kraken. Sidney Crosby and company started on the right foot, knocking off the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night, but they can't take their foot off the pedal against an unsuspecting Kraken squad.

Seattle's woes are well-documented. The NHL's newest team has reached the heights from its sophomore season, currently sitting seven points back of the final wild-card berth with just over 30 games left in the regular season.

Likewise, the Pens are seven points back, albeit with five games in hand in the Eastern Conference race.

Those aren't insurmountable odds for either squad, making Thursday's inter-conference showdown all the more important for their respective playoff pushes.

Here are my Penguins vs. Kraken prediction and picks for tonight.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Like the penguin standing on the edge of cracking ice, racing to stay with his community, Pittsburgh has to get moving to stay relevant in the Eastern Conference.

Unfortunately, some cracks are starting to develop in their underlying metrics, which could prevent them from salvaging the 2023-24 season.

More succinctly, the Pens are falling apart. Pittsburgh has been outplayed in three of its past five, usually by a substantial margin. They've posted expected goals-for ratings below 38.3% in all three of those contests, contributing to a cumulative 44.6% rating.

Worse, the Penguins are getting outplayed on both ends of the ice. Offensively, the Pens have been held to an average of 8.0 high-danger and 20.2 scoring opportunities per game over that five-game sample. Defensively, opponents are averaging 9.6 and 22.2, respectively.

The more concerning trend is that two of the last three teams have gone north of 13 high-danger chances.

Consistency between the pipes has also been a limiting factor for the Pens. Tristan Jarry has looked brilliant at times, but he's also mixed in a few duds. The Penguins netminder has stopped fewer than 89.7% of shots in four of his past 10, falling below 79.0% in two of four.

There's no telling which Jarry will show up in the Emerald City, which hurts Pittsburgh's chances.

Seattle Kraken

The Kraken come into Thursday's showdown on much sturdier footing. Seattle has outplayed three of its past four opponents, yielding a decisive 53.1% expected goals-for rating.

Still, the Kraken have only two wins over that stretch, implying that they are progression candidates over their coming sample.

Furthering the Kraken's cause is their team-friendly schedule. Seattle has been chilling at home since Feb. 16, playing six straight games at Climate Pledge Arena over 16 days.

That schedule is seemingly having a profound impact on the Kraken's performance; they've put forth some of their best efforts over the first four games of the homestand.

Seattle's success is grounded in defensive structure in its own end. The Kraken have limited three of four opponents to eight or fewer high-danger and 22 or fewer scoring chances. Consequently, they've surpassed the 60.0% threshold in expected goals-for rating in two of the four games.

Those stout defensive efforts are reflected throughout the season. So far this year, the Kraken have allowed the sixth-fewest scoring chances at home and the third-fewest high-danger chances.

With the added benefit of resting at home and taking on a downtrodden Pens' side, we're expecting Seattle to maintain its standards on Thursday night.

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Penguins vs. Kraken

Betting Pick & Prediction

Goals will be at a premium in this inter-conference affair. The Penguins have been ineffective at generating offense lately, eating away at their expected metrics.

The Kraken don't have a lot to show for their recent performances, but they continue to put forth some of the best defensive zone play in the NHL.

Consequently, we're betting that this contest stays beneath the total. We're taking the aggressive approach, taking the plus-money on the 5.5 rather than the juiced-up Under 6.

With postseason aspirations on the line, we're expecting both teams to play in their defensive shell. The unintended consequence of that style of play could result in this game going to overtime, an outcome that both teams would likely be satisfied with. As such, we're playing the 60-minute tie at +330 or better.

Picks: Under 5.5 (+112 at FanDuel) | 60-Minute Tie (+340 at FanDuel)

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