Pittsburgh Penguins will host Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL 2021/22 season 3rd round on Saturday evening. The home side is going to play its first game at home this season, and they will search for a win. The visitors are about to head to another away match, and they look forward to booking their first victory in the campaign.
Pittsburgh had a pretty solid preseason, as the hosts had a 4-2 record. They aim for another successful regular season and will try to secure a place in the playoffs. On the other hand, Chicago comes to the regular season after a 3-2-1 record in prep matches. The away side search for an improvement after a poor campaign last time and failing to enter the post-season.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Can they repeat the dominance in the regular season?
The Penguins were excellent in the regular season last time since they topped the East Division with a 37-16-3 record. However, Pittsburgh couldn’t go further than the first step where New York Islanders knocked them out after a six-game tie. They opened the new campaign with an impressive 6-2 victory against the defending champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, on the road. However, they lost in the 2nd round away to Florida Panthers after overtime. Now, the Penguins head back home in a search for the second win in the season.
It is going to be Pittsburgh’s first game on the home ice, and they want to be among the best hosts in the league. We should expect to see Tristan Jarry on the goal for the second time in the season. He allowed two goals against the Lightning, having an excellent .929 save percentage. Danton Heinen leads the Penguins’ scoreboard with a pair of goals, while Kris Letang booked four assists.
Expected Line-Up: Tristan Jarry, Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel, Jeff Carter
with best odds
Chicago Blackhawks – Are they capable of an improvement?
The Blackhawks finished sixth in the Central Division last season, and they failed to enter the playoffs. With a 24-25-7 record, they were nine points behind the fourth-placed Nashville Predators. Although Chicago has been doing pretty well in the offense, their defensive issues cost them a post-season spot. The Blackhawks opened the new campaign with two games on the road, and this will be their third in a row. They lost to the Avalanche 4-2, while New Jersey Devils were better 4-3 after overtime.
Marc-Andre Fleury will likely be the starting goalie for Chicago on Saturday evening. He made an appearance against Colorado in the opening round and is about to face his former team. Fleury carried a .889 save percentage against the Avalanche, making 32 saves from 36 opponent shots. On the other hand, Dominik Kubalik and Connor Murphy netted twice for the Blackhawks so far in the season.
Expected Line-Up: Marc-Andre Fleury, Calvin de Haan, Seth Jones, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Tyler Johnson
Expert Pick #1 – Pittsburgh Penguins to win ML @-112
After a solid success on the road, the Penguins play their first home game and search for the first win. The hosts were excellent last season, and they should be capable of repeating the same in the current one. I’ll take Pittsburgh to win as my first pick for this match.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 6 @+104
Pittsburgh looked very well offensively in the first two matches away from home. Their both games went Over, and this one is a good opportunity to continue in the same fashion at the home ice. Although Marc-Andre Fleury might put a good display against the former team, I expect plenty of goals, and I’m taking the Over as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Penguins & Over 6 @+185
In the search for longer odds, I’ve decided to combine the first two picks. The Penguins are favorites in this clash, and since their defenses are tired, we could see more than six goals in total. Therefore, it’s going to be my third pick.