Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Arizona Coyotes Free Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Gila River Arena is the site for an East-West matchup as the Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice against the Arizona Coyotes. It’s the final time that the two clubs will go at it in the regular season. The puck drops at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 16, and fans at home are able to watch it live on Fox Arizona Plus.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Arizona Coyotes Odds

Pittsburgh is 16-17 straight up (SU) and has lost 6.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 33 regular season contests, 18 of its games have gone over the total, while 14 have gone under and just one has pushed. The Pens are 6-11 SU as an away team in 2017-18.

Pittsburgh has converted on 25.6 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s good enough for fifth-best in the NHL. Its penalty kill is ranked 19th out of 31 teams, and the teams successfully killed off 80.6 percent of its penalties.

For the team as a whole, the Pens have been sent to the penalty box 4.5 times per game this season, and 2.6 per game over its last five contests. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays just 7.5 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Boasting a .907 save percentage and 26.5 saves per game, Matt Murray (12-10-1) has been the top option in goal for Pittsburgh this year. If Pittsburgh chooses to rest him, however, they might turn to Tristan Jarry (5-5-2 record, .919 save percentage, 2.49 goals against average).

Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby will both be offensive focal points for the visiting Penguins. Kessel (37 points) is up to 15 goals and 22 assists, and has recorded two or more points in eight different games. Crosby has 13 goals and 19 assists to his name (and has registered a point in 20 games).

Arizona is 7-27 straight up (SU) and has lost 18.1 units for moneyline bettors this year. 19 of its games have gone under the total, while 14 have gone over and just one has pushed. It’s 3-10 SU at home this year.

The Coyotes have converted on just 16.0 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s ranked 26th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 17th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.1 percent of all opponent power plays.Coyotes players have been sent to the penalty box only 3.2 times per game in total this season, 3.2 per game over their past five outings total, and 3.2 per game over their last five at home. The teams had to kill penalties just 6.6 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Antti Raanta (25.7 saves per game) has been the primary selection in goal for the Coyotes. Raanta has four wins, 11 losses, and two overtime losses to his credit and has registered a .919 save percentage and 2.79 goals against average this season.

Clayton Keller (12 goals, 12 assists) will lead the offensive counter for the Coyotes.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Arizona Coyotes Betting Predictions

Predictions: SU Winner – Coyotes, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • Over Arizona’s last ten outings, six of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 1-5 in those games).
  • Pittsburgh has scored 2.9 goals per game overall this year, but is averaging 1.7 goals per contest over its three-game losing skid.
  • The Coyotes are 4-14 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 5-21 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes.
  • Arizona has averaged 2.2 goals per game overall this season, but has been averaging 1.0 goal per matchup over its five-game losing skid.
  • Arizona has averaged 5.2 giveaways over its last five home games, an improvement from its season average of 8.3 giveaways per game (the 8th-fewest in the league).
  • Pittsburgh is ranked ninth this season with 8.5 giveaways per game. That figures trended higher recently, as it’s averaged 10.5 giveaways over its last 10 games and 10.0 giveaways over its last five.
  • This game features a couple of the more aggressive teams in the league. Pittsburgh skaters have accounted for the ninth-most hits in the league (23.5 per game) and the Coyotes have recorded the 10th-most (23.4).