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Tuesday's NHL playoff action: What bettors need to know

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins (-193, 5.5)

After receiving a spirited test to begin the postseason, the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins may get all they can handle on Tuesday when they open their Eastern Conference second-round series at home against the seventh-seeded Ottawa Senators. Sure, the Penguins won all three regular-season contests between the teams, but the Senators have reason to be steamed after Pittsburgh agitator Matt Cooke injured the Achilles tendon of stud defenseman Erik Karlsson on Feb. 13. The reigning Norris Trophy winner was sidelined for 31 games after the incident.

Karlsson seems to have healed well with one goal and five assists and Craig Anderson turned aside 171 of 180 shots as Ottawa eliminated second-seeded Montreal in five games during the first round. The netminder yielded only five goals in two contests versus Pittsburgh in 2013 - but he better be up for the challenge. The Penguins scored 25 goals en route to dispatching the pesky eighth-seeded New York Islanders in six games in the first round.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports

ABOUT THE SENATORS:
Ottawa dispatched Montreal in a physical series in the first round, allowing for a peaceful four-day cushion in between games. Captain Daniel Alfredsson (two goals, four assists) matched Karlsson with a team-best six points and Kyle Turris is riding a three-game goal-scoring streak. The Senators do have an ace up their sleeve as Jason Spezza eyes a return following surgery on his back for a herniated disk. Spezza, who has played in just five games this season, did not make the trip to Pittsburgh, however.

ABOUT THE PENGUINS: While Pittsburgh is known for its powerful offense, the focus in the Steel City will likely rest between the pipes. Marc-Andre Fleury struggled mightily after his Game 1 shutout against the Islanders and eventually gave way to veteran Tomas Vokoun, who has been in net in each of the his team's last two victories. "We have confidence in both guys, no matter who it is," said captain Sidney Crosby, who had three goals and six assists in five games. "They've both proven for a long time that they're more than capable of doing a great job. We feel very comfortable with either one as players, but it's not up to us to decide who goes into net."

TRENDS:

* Senators are 6-1 in their last seven road games.
* Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Pittsburgh.
* Over is 4-1 in Penguins’ last five overall.
* Senators are 1-4 in the last five meetings in Pittsburgh.

OVERTIME

1. The Senators defeated the Penguins in five games during their first-round series in 2007. Pittsburgh answered by sweeping Ottawa in the opening round in 2008 before winning in six games in 2010.

2. Pittsburgh went 7-for-21 on the power play in the first round while killing off 18 of 20 short-handed situations.

3. Ottawa has scored six power-play goals in its last three contests.

San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (-155, 5)

The fifth-seeded Los Angeles Kings continue their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions Tuesday, when they begin their Western Conference second-round series against the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Los Angeles' hopes to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 took an early blow as it dropped the first two games of its first-round series with the St. Louis Blues. The Kings rallied to win the next four in the tightly contested matchup, as each of the six games were decided by one goal.

San Jose advanced to the all-California showdown by sweeping the Northwest Division champion Vancouver Canucks. The series was not as easy for the Sharks as it would seem, with two of their wins coming in overtime and the other two needing big offensive performances in the third period. San Jose has been idle since finishing off Vancouver on May 7, while Los Angeles has had three days off since dispatching St. Louis on Friday. The Kings, who have home-ice advantage in a playoff series for the first time since 1992, split their four-game set against the Sharks during the regular season.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN

ABOUT THE SHARKS: Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture led San Jose with eight points apiece in the first-round series against Vancouver. Pavelski and Patrick Marleau each scored four goals. Captain Joe Thornton understands the showdown with former Sharks coach Darryl Sutter's club will not be a walk in the park. "They're the champs," Thornton said. "We have to go down there and try to win some games. We're not looking to go down and sweep the champs. We just want to compete hard from Game 1 on and see if we can win." Defenseman Jason Demers appears to have recovered from his left ankle injury but likely will be kept out of the lineup Tuesday. Demers, who missed the final four regular-season games and the entire series against Vancouver, has participated in practice each of the last two days. "Yesterday I was a little tired, but today I felt pretty good," he said.

ABOUT THE KINGS: Mike Richards topped Los Angeles with five points - all assists - against St. Louis, while Jeff Carter scored a team-high three goals in the series. Defenseman Slava Voynov was Mr. Clutch for the Kings, as both of his goals against the Blues were game-winners. Coming back to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games is no easy feat. It has been done only 45 times in 327 instances, but Los Angeles is not in awe of itself. "There seemed to be just a sense of business as usual," Justin Williams told the Los Angeles Times. "We're happy with the win but not satisfied." The Kings performed well on the penalty kill in the first round, ranking fourth with an 88.2 percent success rate. They'll have to be at least as good against the Sharks, who went 7-for-24 on the power play against Vancouver to rank second at 29.2 percent. "They really thrive on their power play," Kings captain Dustin Brown told the Times. "Our PK was good last series, but it's going to have to be even better against these guys."

TRENDS:

* Over is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings in Los Angeles.
* Over is 4-0-3 in the last seven meetings.
* Home team is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
* Sharks are 1-4 in the last five meetings in Los Angeles.

OVERTIME:


1. The Kings and Sharks have met just one other time in the playoffs, with San Jose winning the 2011 first-round series in six games. Three of its four victories came in overtime.

2. D Drew Doughty was a 2-year-old the last time the Kings had home-ice advantage in a postseason series.

3. Three of the four regular-season meetings between the Pacific Division rivals were decided by one goal, with one contest going to a shootout.

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