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Pittsburgh Penguins Odds - Tougher competition, but a Stanley Cup repeat is possible

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/24/2012 11:46:54 AM
NHL oddsThe Pittsburgh Penguins odds for success in 2009 are more trustworthy than ever. After a rocky start in 2008-09, they brought in coach Dan Bylsma and went 18-3-4 in their last 25 games before crusading to the Cup in an unexpected sportsbook triumph. Can lightning strike twice?

Pittsburgh Penguins Odds: Most important pieces intact for a repeat

  • Any team with Crosby and Malkin is immediately a contender
  • Tough as ever up front, but blueline lost some grit in the offseason
  • Growth of youngsters Letang, Goligoski is crucial to Pittsburgh’s success

Pittsburgh Penguins odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE

The Penguins don’t have the deepest group of snipers in the league, but they can flat-out score thanks to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, arguably two of the top three players in the world. They make everyone around them better and can excel even without true first-liners on their wings. Retaining Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz should go a long way, as Guerin still has a goal-scorer’s release and Kunitz is a heady, underrated winger who can play in any situation. Jordan Staal looked great in the playoffs and has a shot at 30 goals this year. Offense won’t be a problem for the Pens.

Pittsburgh Penguins odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE

You could argue that the Pens won the Cup on the strength of defense rather than offense. The rugged blueline, featuring Brooks Orpik, was a meat-and-potatoes unit, low on skill but high on smarts and heart. The group managed to be physical without taking too many penalties. Checking forwards Max Talbot and Tyler Kennedy are the type or high-energy guys who give their team an emotional lift at crucial moments.

One problem: Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill, two thirds of the Pens’ big shutdown trio, left for big free-agent money. Jay McKee will fill the void somewhat, but there’s no denying the Pens will be smaller and a bit softer. That’s worrisome considering the big, bad Bruins and Flyers will push Pittsburgh hard for Eastern Conference supremacy this season. The change in Pittsburgh’s defensive makeup may be by design, as I’m betting the Pens want to develop puck movers Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski further.

Pittsburgh Penguins odds maker breakdown: GOALTENDING

Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t the most consistent goalie out there, but he’s a great athlete capable of stealing games, as he did throughout the 2008-09 playoffs. He’s developed enough to shake any semblance of a “bust” label and is firmly entrenched as Pittsburgh’s starter. I’d place him just below the “elite” goalie tier.

Pittsburgh Penguins odds maker breakdown: SPECIAL TEAMS

Here’s a real strength for the Pens. The Pens were a top-10 penalty killing team last season thanks largely to Talbot and Staal and, while that rank may slip with Scuderi and Gill gone, the power play should rebound dramatically after ranking 20th in the league last season. Two numbers for hockey betting fans to note: 4 and 7. Those are Pittsburgh’s power-play ranks in the 2007-08 regular season and 2008-09 playoffs. The difference: Sergei Gonchar. When he’s healthy, he’s the trigger man at the point on Pittsburgh’s power play. Even if he does miss time, Goligoski and Letang’s offensive skills should keep improving. The Pens’ power play should be lethal this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins odds maker breakdown: SEASON OUTLOOK

Detractors will tell you the Pens did nothing to improve their championship team while competitors like Philadelphia and New York worked hard to improve their teams. But, as the Pens (and Boston) will tell you, strong drafting is the best retooling you can do. Since the Pens have stockpiled so many young stars, they keep improving year to year without signing more players because the blue chippers keep developing further. The Pens will thus contend again for the Cup, though the road won’t be easy this season.

For Pittsburgh Penguins odds for the upcoming season and all the sports betting you need, check out the Betting Edge at

Who better to offer great sports betting and hockey tips than a native Canadian? Like any good Canuck, Don Melrose eats, sleeps, breathes and bets hockey, making him the perfect NHL handicapper. Thoughts or questions?



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