Ari Baum-Cohen writes for Illegalcurve.com.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings (-180, 5.5)
Home ice is nice
The home team has won every game this series and Pittsburgh must try to break that trend in order to win its first Stanley Cup since 1992. The Wings have only lost once at home (11-1) in this year’s playoffs.
The Wings will have last change at home, and will have the matchup advantages against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Detroit has done an excellent job containing Pittsburgh’s two young superstars at home. Malkin has two assists in three games in Detroit while Crosby has yet to register a point.
Detroit’s Chris Osgood and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury have played well this postseason, but both have been much better at home than on the road.
Osgood is sporting a 1.40 goals against average at the Joe Louis Arena compared to a GAA of almost a goal and a half higher on the road.
Fleury made several spectacular stops in the third period of Game 6 to keep the Penguins in front. In Detroit, however, he has not been as fortunate. Fleury’s performance in Game 5 was not awful, but he did let in five goals. The young netminder also allowed some questionable goals in Games 1 and 2 at Detroit.
Typically this section would be about Detroit’s depth, but several Wings players have gone missing this series, most notably Marian Hossa. The All-Star forward, a perennial point-per-game player, has gone relatively unnoticed throughout the series. Jiri Hudler, Tomas Holmstrom and Daniel Cleary have all been playing below their capabilities as well.
Jordan Staal has emerged as a secondary scoring option for the Pens. Staal had a game-changing, short-handed goal in Game 4 and was responsible for the opening goal in Tuesday’s tilt. Crosby and Malkin have not registered a point in the Pens’ last two games but Pittsburgh has managed to stay alive in the series.
Overcoming the odds
Detroit is currently -180 to win Game 7, the most either team has been favored this series. Home teams are 12-2 in Game 7s of Stanley Cup finals, and a road team has only won the Stanley Cup once after trailing 3-2 in the final series (1-21).
However, in sports, any team can win on any given day. Good luck, bad bounces and turnovers 180 feet from the net can be the difference between a Stanley Cup win and a summer of regret.
- Penguins are 5-2 in their last seven games following a win.
- Red Wings are 5-1 in their last six after scoring two goals or less in their previous game.
- The under is 4-0 in Pittsburgh’s last four road games.
- The over is 8-2-2 when Pittsburgh is a road underdog of +151 to +200
- The under is 5-0 in Detroit’s last five home games.