NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Penguins vs. Oilers (December 1)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Penguins vs. Oilers (December 1) article feature image
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Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby.

  • The Penguins are slight underdogs on Wednesday night against the Oilers.
  • Pittsburgh enters this one coming off a great result in Calgary, while Edmonton hopes to solve its struggling goaltending.
  • Carol Schram breaks down the betting value in the matchup and makes her pick below.

Penguins vs. Oilers Odds

Penguins Odds +110
Oilers Odds -130
Over/Under 6
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

There’s no doubt, Connor McDavid vs. Sidney Crosby is a marquee NHL matchup.

On Wednesday, for the first time since Nov. 2, 2019, we’ll see Crosby, arguably the greatest player of his generation, go head-to-head against his successor.

But don’t expect scoring fireworks at Rogers Place. Even as McDavid and Leon Draisaitl continue to light the lamp, the Oilers are getting their goaltending house in order, while Tristan Jarry has been stopping nearly everything he sees for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jarry’s heroics are a big part of the reason why the visitors look poised to skate out of Edmonton with two points on Wednesday.

Edmonton Oilers

Draisaitl was the hottest player in the NHL during the month of November. He picked up 15 goals and 27 points in 13 games, while the Oilers went 9-4-0. Three of those losses came during a mid-month five-game road trip. Over the last two weeks, Edmonton has won four out of five.

The improved results have coincided with Stuart Skinner settling in as the Oilers’ backup. His play has been decent and perhaps more importantly, he has been able to play enough minutes to let Mikko Koskinen get some rest.

Koskinen is expected to make his third-straight start on Wednesday, following strong performances in wins over Arizona and Vegas.

The Oilers’ recent success has not been so reliant on the club’s otherworldly power play, either. After starting the season at a success rate of close to 50%, they’re now down to 37.7% for the season — still leading the league by a wide margin, but “only” 12-for-38 for 31.1% in the month of November.

Meanwhile, Edmonton’s underlying numbers at 5-on-5 are improving. For the season, their expected goals in that situation are 2.39 per 60 minutes in that situation. But over their last five games, that number has dropped to a much more respectable 2.12.

That being said, Edmonton’s defensive depth is being tested. Veteran Duncan Keith has missed the Oilers’ last two games with an upper-body injury and has now been placed on injured reserve, and Codi Ceci was placed on the Covid protocol list on Tuesday.

The Oilers cancelled practice on Tuesday for precautionary reasons. Keep an eye out for possible updates to the Covid list before Wednesday’s game.

Big 23-year-old Markus Niemelainen has been recalled from AHL Bakersfield. He’ll make his NHL debut if he draws into the lineup against Pittsburgh.

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Pittsburgh Penguins

The biggest story around the Penguins is Tristan Jarry, who remains red hot. Last week, he went 3-0-0, giving up just two goals in total, and was named the NHL’s second star of the week. On Monday, he earned first-star honors again in Calgary, making 31 saves in 65 minutes of action and helping the Penguins pick up a point before they fell to the Flames in a seven-round shootout.

Jarry is now up to fourth in the league in goals saved above expected, at 12.5.

Over the last seven games, the Penguins are 5-1-1, and the only loss came with Casey DeSmith in net. Jarry has given up three goals in total and pitched three shutouts during that stretch — while Pittsburgh has ranked 20th in the league in Corsi against per 60 at 5-on-5 (56.21) and a better 10th in high-danger Corsi against.

The Penguins are also a very good penalty-killing team, currently riding an eight-game stretch without allowing a goal while shorthanded. When facing the Oilers, that’s a very useful skill.

In front of Jarry, the Penguins aren’t scoring a ton, yet their underlying numbers are pretty solid — third in the league in expected goals per 60 at 5-on-5 over the last seven games, and with power-play goals in three of their last four games. With another assist on Monday in Calgary, Crosby now has five points in his last three games and is up to seven in 10 games this year.

Oilers vs. Penguins Pick

The Penguins started this road trip going toe-to-toe against one of the best teams in the league in Calgary. Thanks to Jarry, they came within a shootout goal of leaving with a win.

Though the Oilers’ goaltending is better than it was, it’s still not on par with the Flames. With Keith sidelined and Ceci potentially unavailable, that makes the Edmonton defense vulnerable. It’s also possible that more players could be placed in COVID protocol before puck drop on Wednesday.

If you’re looking for a prop for this game, consider taking the under on points for Draisaitl or McDavid. For a game bet, Pittsburgh looks good on the moneyline, as a road underdog.

Pick: Penguins +110 (play to even money)

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