After escaping with a 3-2 double-overtime win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final the Pittsburgh Penguins prepare to face the Nashville Predators as -155 favourites to repeat as champions at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Pittsburgh owns home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup final on the strength of its second-place finish in the Metropolitan Division during the regular season, and will be gunning for a fourth straight home victory as a -165 betting favourite for Monday night’s Game 1 matchup at PPG Paints Arena.
Pegged as heavy -300 chalk at the outset of their series with Ottawa the Penguins fell behind 2-1 in the set before rebounding to bounce the Senators on the strength of their success at home, where they outscored them by a 12-4 margin including a pair of shutout victories.
The Penguins are 8-3 at home in the postseason, halting a shaky 2-2-1 run to close out the regular season, and holding opponents to two or fewer goals at home on eight occasions.
This marks Pittsburgh’s fourth trip to the Stanley Cup final in 10 years, with the club emerging victorious on two occasions since falling to the Detroit Red Wings in six games in the 2008 final. The Penguins rebounded in 2009 to beat the Red Wings in seven games and capture their first Stanley Cup since 1992, and overpowered San Jose in six games last spring.
Pittsburgh is 5-1 in its past six games at home during the Stanley Cup final but has produced mixed results in series openers, claiming a 3-2 win over the Sharks as -129 chalk last season but going 2-3 in five all-time Game 1 appearances in the round.
The Predators advanced to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in franchise history with a trio of impressive series wins, capped by a six-game victory over the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference final
However, expectations are tempered against the experienced Penguins, with Nashville trailing on the latest Stanley Cup futures at +135.
That is a massive improvement over the +2500 Stanley Cup odds the Predators sported at the beginning of the postseason, but Nashville has struggled in clashes with the Penguins in recent years, posting just four wins over their past 13 meetings dating back to 2007 according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
The Predators split a pair of dates with Pittsburgh this season, claiming a 5-1 win as +113 home underdogs on October 22 before falling 4-2 as +141 road underdogs on January 31.