"Probably not," was Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson's immediate response when asked if he believed his team could win three consecutive games against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That is the task facing the Senators if they want to advance, after Pittsburgh took a 3-1 series lead on Wednesday with an authoritative 7-3 win. It wasn't the sort of rallying cry that usually inspires a great comeback, but coming from someone as experienced as Alfredsson it shouldn't be construed as throwing in the towel. Still I think tonight's outcome rests more on how determined the Penguins are to wrap this up as soon as possible - simply because they are the more gifted team.
In a flexing of their offensive muscle, all seven of Pittsburgh's goals last time out were scored by members of their powerhouse top two lines, with two each for Jarome Iginla and James Neal. Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby share the overall lead for individual play-off goals on seven; Crosby is one of the Penguins that make up four of the five top point-scorers too. The Senators have done better than expected up front, with guys like Eric Condra and Jean-Gabriel Pageau definitely enhancing their reputations. They will play their part in getting the total goals up over 5.5 at 1.90.
The Senators start today way out at 4.10 and normally that'd be well worth taking on. But I think a more likely scenario is the tie after regulation at 4.20. All signs point to a Penguins win, however: the two contests at Consol Energy Center at the start of the series were comfortable for them. Back a victory for Pittsburgh at 1.72.
Best bet: Pittsburgh Penguins to win at 1.72