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Penguins, Ducks Trending in Opposite Directions Right Now

Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby (87) skates during the first period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Florida Panthers on January 8, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.

Stuck in a franchise-worst losing streak, the Anaheim Ducks and their punchless offense will face a tough task against the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins at Honda Center on Friday. The Ducks, who’ve managed only 12 goals in the 0-6-3 SU skid, opened as +125 home underdogs with a total of 6.

SHARK BITES
  • The Penguins are 0-3 SU in their last three games vs the Ducks (avg. losing margin: 2.67).
  • The Penguins are 7-1 SU in their last eight games vs teams with losing records.
  • The total has gone OVER in three of the Penguins’ last four games on the road vs the Ducks.

Penguins vs Ducks Game Center

Ducks badly need a jump-start on offense

The Ottawa Senators snapped an eight-game slide of their own in a 2-1 overtime triumph over the Ducks on Wednesday. Rickard Rakell returned to Anaheim’s lineup after missing 13 contests due to an ankle injury and was a minus-2 with two shots in 19 minutes of action. Captain Ryan Getzlaf hasn’t recorded a point in eight straight – the longest drought of his career. The Ducks have played a league-most 13 overtime frames at home and have won five of them.

Pittsburgh is on the opposite side of the fence right now after notching 40 goals while winning nine of its past 10 tilts entering tonight’s game. The Pens’ hot streak has coincided with the resurgence of Bryan Rust, who’s scored 10 of his 11 goals this season in his past 13 games after potting two in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Sidney Crosby has scored five times while collecting 16 assists in his last 13 games to increase his team-leading totals to 20 goals and 53 points in 2018-19.

Penguins are going OVER in the Golden State

When the Penguins do battle with the Ducks in California, high-scoring affairs tend to follow. In the past four meetings between the Pens and Ducks at Honda Center, the OVER is 3-1. The Penguins have also gone OVER in three of their last four with a closing total of 6 goals or less.

Pittsburgh has had no issues getting the job done away from home of late, as the Penguins have won both straight up and on the puckline in each of their last five road contests with an average winning margin of three goals. The Pens are in a similar spot when it comes to facing lesser opposition, as they’re 7-1 SU in their previous eight against clubs with losing records.

My pick: take the Penguins

This one is a no-brainer for me, and I’m wondering why books didn’t open the Penguins as bigger favorites due to their recent torrid stretch and the Ducks’ futility over the past few weeks. The Penguins’ -140 number isn’t exactly great value, yet considering the opposite directions the teams are heading in, I’m more than comfortable backing Pittsburgh.

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