- The New Jersey Devils host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, March 20th
- The Pens announced Friday Evgeni Malkin is week-to-week with a lower-body injury
- Read below for our game preview and betting pick
The Devils are listed as home underdogs against the Penguins in afternoon NHL action on Saturday, March 20th. New Jersey beat Pittsburgh by a 3-2 score on Thursday to kickoff a three-game series between the two clubs. The rematch will be broadcast on Sportsnet One.
The Penguins are without star forward Evgeni Malkin due to a lower-body injury, while Devils starting goalie MacKenzie Blackwood is being evaluated for an upper-body injury.
Will the Penguins get revenge in Saturday’s rematch, or should you bet on the Devils to keep rolling?
Pittsburgh Penguins vs New Jersey Devils Odds
|Team||Moneyline at at DraftKings||Spread||Total|
|Pittsburgh||-155||-1.5 (+160)||O 6 (+102)|
|New Jersey||+133||+1.5 (-195)||U 6 (-125)|
Odds as of Mar. 19.
Devils Prevail in Series Opener
The Devils took the first of a three-game series between the two clubs with a 3-2 win Thursday at the Prudential Centre. Jack Hughes, PK Subban, and Travis Zajac scored for New Jersey, while goalie Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves as a last-minute replacement for an injured MacKenzie Blackwood.
It's too damn hot for a penguin to be scoring around here! pic.twitter.com/uz8DtqK2DC
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) March 19, 2021
The Devils got the victory, but it wasn’t the prettiest of wins. The Penguins fired a season-high 42 shots on goal and were thwarted by a great goaltending performance. It was just the second win in 13 home games for the Devils, who are a miserable 4-10-2 at the Prudential Centre this season.
The Penguins announced Friday that star forward Evgeni Malkin is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. The second-line center didn’t play in Thursday’s game due to the injury, but now we know his return isn’t imminent. The good news is that Jared McCann, who has missed six games with an upper-body injury, skated during practice Friday and could return to take Malkin’s spot Saturday.
Per Mike Sullivan, Evgeni Malkin will be sidelined on a week to week basis.
Jason Zucker has resumed skating.
Jared McCann and Mark Friedman practiced in a full-contact capacity.
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) March 19, 2021
The Devils are also dealing with a key injury, as starting goalie MacKenzie Blackwood reportedly suffered an upper-body injury in warmups Thursday. Blackwood, who owns a .903 save percentage, was still being evaluated Friday and it’s unclear if he’ll be good to go Saturday.
New Jersey was also without top-six forward Pavel Zacha for the first game due to an undisclosed injury, but signs are point to him returning for the rematch. The 23-year-old is enjoying a productive season, recording seven goals and 17 points in 26 games thus far.
Is Scott Wedgewood for Real?
Devils backup goalie Scott Wedgewood has been a great story of late, posting a save percentage of at least .941 in three of his past four starts. The Devils need this type of goaltending if they want to have any chance of winning games, as they are allowing 31.6 shots per contest — sixth-most in the NHL.
"Big win for us against a high-skilled team."
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) March 19, 2021
Wedgewood has shown the ability to steal games, but he’s a 28-year-old career backup goalie with only 30 NHL starts under his belt. You might get the Wedgewood that puts the team on his back to earn a victory, but you might get the guy who gave up four-plus goals on three different occasions this year. Wedgewood’s .908 career save percentage tells you not to expect 40-plus save performances every night.
Injuries play a key role in betting this game. Jared McCann was red-hot before suffering his injury and would be a great replacement for Malkin on the second line. Kapanen was playing great alongside Geno, but if his linemates remain Evan Rodrigues and Brandon Tanev, Pittsburgh likely isn’t getting much offense outside of Sidney Crosby’s line.
Evgeni Malkin & Kasperi Kapanen have now combined for 9 Goals and 21 Points in the last 10 games.
— AT&T SportsNet™ PIT (@ATTSportsNetPIT) March 12, 2021
The Devils, meanwhile, are one of the league’s lowest-scoring teams (2.52 GF/GP) and are going up against Tristan Jarry, who has limited opponents to three or fewer goals in all but one of his last 14 starts. This game should be a low-scoring affair with both goalies playing well and Malkin being injured.
The “under” has cashed in four of Pittsburgh’s last five games and in four of New Jersey’s past five. If McCann is confirmed available, the Pittsburgh moneyline also becomes a play.
Pick: Under 6 (-125)