UFC 253 comes packed with fireworks from both inside the octagon and the betting lines as middleweight king Israel Adesanya settles his grudge with the unbeaten destroyer, Paulo Costa. Both fighters are explosive strikers and with ill will all but guaranteeing heated exchanges. Co-headlining are red-hot fighters Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz facing off for the vacant light heavyweight title. Let's break down these fights and see which bets we can cash.
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Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Ottawa Senators vs Pittsburgh Penguins Game 3
NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 Preview
Sometimes all it takes is one. And Monday night, the Penguins only needed one goal from one man: Phil Kessel to even the series to one apiece. The Pens were outmaneuvering the pesky Sens in almost every way: outshooting them, winning the faceoffs, and even outhitting them but still couldn't capitalize. Ottawa also kept causing them problems playing the puck and it frustrated Kessel till he lit a fire under his team's butt. Leading by example, he scored the lone goal of the game off a rebound as the series heads to Ottawa tied.
Series: Tied 1-1
Following a surprising upset in the series opener, the Penguins quickly asserted themselves in the second outplaying the Sens and dominating puck possession including winning 62% of the faceoffs. But the Pens couldn't seem to put goals in net as Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson stuffed everything. Kessel was visibly upset on numerous occasions after failing to register a shot on goal for the whole game until he capitalized on a rebound. Evgeni Malkin had the assist.
Kessel said he couldn't remember what he said and it was clear he was driven by emotions. That kind of fire is why Kessel is second on the team in goals with six and why he led the team last year in goals. Since being acquired from the Leafs in 2015, Kessel has been a playoff spark plug. Not to be outdone, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 23 shots to record his second shutout of the postseason. It was a better outing from the Pens who played tighter and more defensively as the score reflects. They look to keep it rolling for game 3.
The Senators again found themselves in a one-goal game but were shut out for the first time in the playoffs and the first time in close to two months. The Sens lost many of the possession battles and found themselves fending off the Penguins for most of the time. They managed to generate offense through takeaways and playing the passing lanes but just couldn't generate prime scoring opportunities.
Team captain Erik Karlsson was neutralized finishing with a shot on goal and a giveaway and a takeaway. Ottawa was losing the game of skill but Kyle Turris tried to get in Malkin's head while Dion Phaneuf leveled Bryan Rust with one of the most bone-jarring hits this postseason. Despite losing the game, the Sens got into the Pens' heads but whether this will only further inspire them to play better or force them to make more mistakes is still to be seen. The Sens hope it's the latter as the Canadian Tire Centre crowd look to push the Sens over to a game 3 victory.
Senators vs Penguins Prediction
Ottawa will again be underdogs in most books as oddsmakers continue to give the Penguins respect. On paper, the Pens are the more talented team but the wily Senators always make it a scrappy affair. It goes to show Ottawa's rugged determination can frustrate even the most prolific offense. But the Sens won't be able to hold the Pens for too long as the favourites look to open up the scoring. Ottawa is still worth a shot at dog prices but the Pens on a discount could be the savvier bet.Pittsburgh Penguins (-140) SportsInteraction
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