Ottawa Senators (+136) at Detroit Red Wings (-150, 5.5 o/u)
The Ottawa Senators (37-26-12, 86 pts) have been on an incredible run which has brought the team back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. Over the last three games, though, the Sens have picked up just one of a possible six points and are back on the outside looking in. Tonight, Ottawa will try to make up some ground when they visit the Detroit Red Wings (40-23-12, 92 pts) at the Joe (4:30 p.m. Eastern).
Ottawa has dropped three straight coming into tonight, falling to the Rangers (5-1), Leafs (4-3 in OT), and Florida (4-2). They are currently three points back of Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but do have one game in hand.
“They have to be able to fight their way through it,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said about the recent losing streak. “We’ve been pushing and have had a lot of Game 7s lately and it’s probably taking its toll. It’s that time of year.”
The Sens were outplayed from the drop of the puck on Sunday against the Panthers, getting outshot 28-16 in the first two periods and falling behind 2-0. Erik Karlsson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each pulled Ottawa within a goal in the third period, but Dave Bolland sealed Ottawa’s fate with an empty netter late in the final frame.
Detroit, meanwhile, comes into tonight’s game sitting third in the Atlantic Division, three points up on the fourth-place Bruins with a game in hand. The Red Wings had a more comfortable hold on a playoff spot not long ago, but have gone just 3-6-1 in their last ten and now feel the likes of Boston, Ottawa, and Florida breathing down their necks. On Sunday, the Wings let an early two-goal lead slip away against the New York Islanders, surrendering three unanswered and ultimately falling 5-4 in regulation time.
“That first period had a lot of funny bounces; it was sloppy for both sides,” Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said after the loss. “We played better from the second on, but obviously it wasn’t good enough. We need to find better balance.”
On a positive note, the Wings did manage to shutout the Tampa Bay Lightning – their potential first-round playoff opponent – 4-0 in the game prior.
Detroit is listed -150 in the money line and Ottawa is +136. The over/under is at 5.5. The Red Wings have won seven of the last ten in the series.
Though the Senators had been on fire behind the stellar goaltending of rookie Andrew Hammond, both teams are having trouble keeping the puck out of their net lately. Detroit has given up 16 goals in its last four games, while Ottawa has surrendered 13 in its last three. Consider the over for tonight’s tilt.
(Photo credit: By Anna Enriquez (Flickr: Jimmy Howard) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)