Phoenix Coyotes (1-0 SU, 1-0 O-U) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0 SU, 1-1 O-U), 7:30 p.m. EST, Wednesday October 09, 2009, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA TV: TSN
By Mike of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Phoenix +180/ Pittsburgh –200
The maligned Phoenix Coyotes may have to get use to playing on the road for the next couple of seasons, as their future in Phoenix is tenuous. Tonight they head into the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first game of a TSN double header.
The Phoenix Coyotes could take some solace in the fact that just 3 years ago it was the Pittsburgh Penguins who were crying foul and claiming bankruptcy unless the NHL allowed them to relocate. Now three years later the Pittsburgh Penguins are the reigning Stanley Cup Champs and have two of the brightest young stars in the game in Evgeny Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Phoenix started the season on the road with a win over divisional rival the Los Angeles Kings. Now without their old bench boss NHL great Wayne Gretzky, the Phoenix Coyotes are coached by Dave Tippett who is preaching a pack mentality and focused effort every night from this group. Tippett had a successful run as head coach of the Dallas Stars and will bring structure and organization to this group. The Coyotes will be a tough opponent most nights, but their thin roster and lack of star power will wear on them as the season goes on.
Pittsburgh is still basking in the glow of their Stanley cup victory and are showing no signs of having the vaunted Stanley Cup hangover. The NHL season is so long that teams who end up in the finals only end up with a 10-week off-season before they have to report to camp in early September. Add in the demands of the media and charity events the players attend in the off season with the need to heal and recuperate their bruised and battered bodies the start of the season can sometimes be a slow one for the winners of Lord Stanley’s Mug. However the Pittsburgh Penguins have shown no ill effects and have already jumped out to a quick 2-0 start to the season.
Recent trends show the Phoenix Coyotes have had an edge over the Pittsburgh Penguins winning 7 of the last 10 encounters and the over under is 5-4-1. However the Pittsburgh Penguins have had the upper hand when playing the Coyotes in Pittsburgh as home ice does have its benefits, the home team is 9-4 SU in this series. Check out our article on home ice advantage and learn just why last change, puck possession and the boards can all have affect on the outcome.
The season is still young and as can be expected the special team stats of the Phoenix Coyotes & Pittsburgh Penguins are a bit distorted due to the limited amount of games that have been played so far. The Phoenix Coyotes got off to a great start scoring 6 goals in the opener and tallying 1 power play maker in 3 chances; the penalty kill will need some work though as they allowed 3 goals on 4 chances to the Los Angels Kings for a miserable 25% Penalty Kill. The Pittsburgh Penguins power play has not been too sharp yet going 1 for 5 in two games but with snipers like Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Sergei Gonchar’s point shot it should only be a matter of time before it takes off.
The Coyotes are playing the first game of three games in four nights and four in six. All four games could be considered road games, but they do travel home for their home opener on Saturday before heading back out to San Jose on Monday. Thanks to the Olympic break this year the NHL has had to compact their schedule and there will be many stretches like this for teams. We will have to keep our eye on these schedule scenarios, as the 4 in 6 can be a very profitable situation.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are also in the first game of a three in four and four in six. More importantly the Penguins have divisional and interstate rival Philadelphia Flyers on tap tomorrow night. Starting goalies rarely play back-to-back games in the NHL so it would be important to double-check the services that provide goalie information prior to game time.
In all likelihood the Pittsburgh Penguins will start Brent Johnson and save starting goalie for tomorrow nights game vs Philadelphia. Conversely the Coyotes will probably go with their number one goalie Ilja Bryzgalov and use back up goalie Jason Labarbera against the less formidable opponent the Buffalo Sabres.
Mike’s Pick: Due to the thin schedule tonight in the NHL we took a long look at this game but there is no value in either the ML (Pittsburgh –180) or Puck line +1.5 (Phoenix –175). This looks like a one goal game & due to the back-to-back situation for both teams we could see a low scoring affair that will be decided by one goal. With that in mind lets throw down on the under. Supporting trend the Pittsburgh Penguins are 15-5-3 to the under in the last 23 vs the Pacific division.
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