That was disappointing.
The Pittsburgh Penguins built momentum near the end of the regular season to win the NHL’s Eastern Conference and earn the No. 1 seed.
They went up 2-1 on the New York Islanders in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And then, everything fell apart.
The Penguins lost three straight games en route to a frustrating first-round exit.
Their goaltending faltered. The team’s superstars – Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – were far from dominant.
And many fans are wondering where the team might go next.
But at least according to general manager Ron Hextall, there won’t be wholesale changes. Instead, it seems the franchise is planning to stay the course and will look to improve on the margins.
“We’re comfortable with our team,” Hextall said in an Associated Press article posted on ESPN. “We had a real good regular season and played well in the playoffs. That doesn’t mean we won’t look to get better. You always look to get better. If we can find ways to tweak things and get better, we will.”
So with a long offseason looming, there’s little hope for a major renovation.
Some changes will certainly be made. But they won’t likely be big ones.
The lingering disappointment won’t get swept away with a massive roster move.
In fact, it might hang around for a while.
At least until a better playoff result can erase it.
Pittsburgh has the longest playoff streak among the major sports leagues
The Pittsburgh Penguins reached the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season. It’s the longest active postseason streak among all teams in the major professional sports leagues. However, now that the Penguins are in the NHL Playoffs (First Round vs. the New York Islanders), they are no longer thinking about streaks.
The Penguins are focused on capturing another Stanley Cup before the window closes for their aging stars. The Penguins won the East Division (37-16-3, 77 points) and face the Islanders for the second time in three seasons during the playoffs.
Before the series, Pennsylvania sports betting apps had the Penguins as favorites (-136) to defeat the Islanders in the First Round and advance. Here is a breakdown of all the ways to wager on the Penguins in the NHL playoffs, betting information and more.
2021 Pittsburgh Penguins playoff schedule
- Game 1: Islanders 4, Penguins 3
- Game 2: Penguins 2, Islanders 1
- Game 3: Penguins 5, Islanders 4
- Game 4: Islanders 4, Penguins 1
- Game 5: Islanders 3, Penguins 2 OT
- Game 6: Islanders 5, Penguins 3
During head-to-head matchups this season against the Islanders, the Penguins have had success. The Penguins posted a 6-2 record against the Isles with a 25-19 advantage in goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins updated playoff game odds
Find the best PA odds available for the Penguins’ next playoff game here:
Penguins biggest Stanley Cup liability
In Game 2 on Tuesday, the Penguins defeated the Islanders, 2-1. On Wednesday, FanDuel online sportsbook said that the Penguins (+1300) are the book’s biggest liability in the Stanley Cup winners market.
The teams with the most amount of money wagered on them at FanDuel to win the Stanley Cup are:
- Colorado Avalanche with 20% of the handle
- Pittsburgh Penguins (10%)
New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins players to watch in Round 1
The Penguins enter the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on a hot streak. They won nine of their last eleven games. The Pens scored the most goals (195) in the regular season.
2021 top Penguins point scorers
- Sidney Crosby (25 goals, 28 assists, 62 points)
- Jake Guentzel (23 goals, 34 assists, 57 points)
- Kris Letang (7 goals, 38 assists, 45 points)
- Bryan Rust (22 goals, 20 assists, 42 points)
- Jared McCann (14 goals, 18 assists, 32 points)
What happened to Evgeni Malkin? He suffered a lower body injury in March and returned in early May. In 33 regular season games, he had eight goals and 20 assists.
This Round One matchup pairs Pittsburgh’s top offense against the Islander’s stingy defense. The Islanders surrender the second-fewest goals (124) in the league. Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov owns a stingy 2.04 GAA.
2021 top Islanders point scorers
- Mathew Barzal (17 goals, 28 assists, 45 points)
- Josh Bailey (8 goals, 27 points, 35 points)
- Brock Nelson (18 goals, 15 assists, 33 points)
- Jordan Eberle (16 goals, 17 assists, 33 points)
- Nick Leddy (2 assists, 29 points, 31 points)
2021 New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins playoff betting
New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins series betting at BetMGM
Series winner: Penguins (-150)/Islanders (+120)
Correct Series result:
- Penguins 4-0 (+900)
- Islanders 4-0 (+1200)
- Penguins 4-1 (+450)
- Islanders 4-1 (+700)
- Penguins 4-2 (+425)
- Islanders 4-2 (+500)
- Penguins 4-3 (+400)
- Islanders 4-3 (+500)
Series top goal scorer:
- Crosby: +300
- Nelson: +750
- Barzal: +800
- Rust: +900
- Full odds on app
There are also betting markets for Penguins and Islanders top goal scorers for the series.
Other NHL playoff betting markets for each series include
- Games to go to overtime
- Total number of shutouts
- Series spread
- Total games in series (O/U)
- Series will end in how many games
Pittsburgh Penguins 2021 Stanley Cup odds
The Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017 making them the first repeat champs in the NHL’s salary cap era.
Pennsylvania online sportsbooks have the Colorado Avalanche (+450) as the favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup.
Pittsburgh Penguins 2021 Stanley Cup odds
- BetMGM: +1200
- DraftKings: +1300
- FanDuel: +1300
- FoxBet: +1100
- BetRivers: +1300
East Division playoff winner odds (via BetRivers)
- Boston Bruins: +175
- Pittsburgh Penguins: +225
- Washington Capitals: +325
- New York Islanders: +450
Pittsburgh Penguins odds to reach Finals
- DraftKings: +600
Currently, BetRivers and Barstool are the only sports betting apps that have odds for 2021 Conn Smythe winner. Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is the favorite (+800).
Pittsburgh Penguins 2021 Conn Smythe Odds
- Sidney Crosby: +2000
- Jake Guentzel: +3500
- Evgeni Malkin: +4000
2021 Stanley Cup playoff betting splits
Prior to the start of the playoffs at DraftKings, the Colorado Avalanche had the most money (23% of the handle) on them to win the 2021 Stanley Cup. The Vegas Golden Knights were second with 10% of the handle and the Philadelphia Flyers, who failed to make the playoffs had 8% of the money. In terms of Stanley Cup futures handle, the Penguins have 6% of the handle and 4% of the bets.
On Friday afternoon, DraftKings released series winner betting splits. The Penguins (-136) garnered 84% of the money to defeat the Islanders. The most lopsided Round 1 series is the Toronto Maple Leafs (-275), who are getting 97% of the action to beat the Montreal Canadiens.
Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill, commented on the upcoming 2021 playoffs:
“The NFL strives for parity, but the NHL really is parity, Anyone can beat anyone. You see nothing but games decided by one goal in these playoffs. So it’s not a shock that a bunch of teams are grouped together at the top.
“The Hurricanes drew a lot of money down the stretch. They got hot, so people really started backing them. They’re not like the Penguins or Capitals, those are big names because of their stars. Carolina is more of an under-the-radar team, but they still drew strong betting action.”
At William Hill, the Golden Knights lead for money (19%) and tickets (21%) in the Stanley Cup futures market.
“We’re a small loser to the Golden Knights, but small enough to where we want to see them win it. We’d like to see a parade here in Vegas. The Wild and the Blues are the only two teams that would really hurt us, the Golden Knights would just nick us a little. We’re rooting hard for a Golden Knights vs. Avalanche series,”
What to know for Penguins playoff home games in 2021
The Penguins were tied with the Avalanche for the best record at home (22-4-2). Their home advantage got a boost recently. Starting with Game 2 on May 18, PPG Paints Arena will be operating at 50% capacity under Pennsylvania’s updated COVID-19 guidelines.
In late April, the BetRivers Lounge opened at the PPG Paints Arena. It doesn’t have sports betting kiosks or teller windows but it’s the closest you will get to an actual sportsbook in an arena in Pennsylvania.
Details on the BetRivers Lounge at PPG Paints Arena
- Location: FedEx level, third floor, section 119
- Features: Two rows of ticketed bowl seats, a lounge area with club chairs, a generous bar top, hi-def video screens, and streaming odds boards. Here’s a video of the BetRivers Lounge.
- Can I place bets at the arena? If you are 21+, you can place a bet on an online sportsbook anywhere in PA. However, there are no betting kiosks or teller windows at the arena.
- How to get tickets to the BetRivers Lounge: BetRivers Lounge seating will be available at ticketmaster.com/penguins for select games. You can also call 412.642.PENS to purchase.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar