NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Stars
Photo by Sam Hodde/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars, whose elite goaltending is a big reason why our expert is taking the under in our NHL odds, preview and prediction for Flames vs. Stars on March 6.
- The Dallas Stars host a struggling Penguins squad on Thursday night.
- Pittsburgh needs this win here, but is in a tough spot playing a back-to-back on the road.
- Ryan Dadoun breaks down the game and shares his best bet below.
Penguins vs. Stars Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Penguins have gone cold at the worst possible time. They need every point they can get, but can they secure a win over Dallas while on the road and on the second half of a back-to-back?
Before Wednesday’s action, Pittsburgh had lost four straight and managed to score just three goals over its past three games. That kind of offensive support is unacceptable on most nights. The silver lining is the Penguins have done okay offensively, ranking 16th in the league with 3.19 goals per game.
Unsurprisingly, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel have been the drivers of Pittsburgh’s attack with 83, 73 and 62 points, respectively, through the Penguins’ first 70 outings. Crosby and Malkin have been the faces of the franchise for over a decade and Guentzel has provided the Penguins with a third star forward in recent years.
The trouble is the Penguins are somewhat thin beyond them. They do have Rickard Rakell and Jason Zucker, who each have over 20 goals and 40 points, so Pittsburgh isn’t completely devoid of secondary scoring. However, Bryan Rust has gone from 58 points in 2021-22 to 38 through 69 contests this season, while Jeff Carter has 24 points through 67 games after finishing last year with 45 points.
Meanwhile, there’s a good chance Casey DeSmith will start against Dallas. DeSmith is 13-14-4 with a 3.11 GAA and a .907 save percentage through 34 appearances, so he doesn’t exactly have standout numbers. He did make 34 saves in his last start, but Dallas figures to be a much bigger challenge.
Pittsburgh is fighting to stay in the playoff race, but the Stars should be motivated too. Although Dallas has pretty much punched its postseason ticket, it’s caught in a tight battle with Minnesota and Colorado for the Central Division title. Going into Wednesday’s action, just two points separate the three teams with home-ice advantage through at least the first two rounds being the reward for the winner.
Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger has something more personal to fight for. The 24-year-old is having a great campaign with a 30-10-11 record, a 2.51 GAA and a .916 save percentage in 54 outings, but he’ll be looking to find his game again after surrendering an uncharacteristic five goals in each of his past two starts.
Even when Oettinger hasn’t been at his best, though, Dallas has still had a chance to win thanks to its outstanding offense, which ranks seventh in the league with 3.44 goals against per game. Jamie Benn is having a resurgence with 30 goals and 70 points through 71 contests, and he only seems to be getting better with the playoffs looming, providing five goals and 15 points over his past eight appearances. Then there’s Jason Robertson, who has been even better with 41 goals and 89 points in 71 contests.
To round things out, Dallas features three more players who each have over 60 points in Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The Stars might be missing some valuable secondary scorer given that Tyler Seguin (leg) is questionable. But even without him, Dallas is one of the toughest teams for opposing goaltenders to face.
Penguins vs. Stars Pick
The gap between these squads on any given night would be significant, but when you throw in that Pittsburgh will be tired while Dallas is rested and at home, it’s no surprise oddsmakers view the Stars as heavy favorites. I agree Dallas is likely to win this one, though the potential payout on the moneyline isn’t good enough to entice me.
Instead, I’m going to recommend Dallas on the puck line. I have respect for the Penguins, who have a veteran core that knows how to win when the pressure is on, but between Pittsburgh’s recent struggles, Dallas’ immensely talented group and a set of circumstances stacked against the Penguins, it feels like this is the right time to predict a decisive win from the Stars.
Pick: Dallas Stars Puck Line (+155) | Play to +140
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