NHL Hockey Betting: Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators

NHL Hockey Betting:  Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Four games on the NHL board for Monday but the only game involving a Canadian team takes place at the Canadian Tire Centre as the Ottawa Senators host the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sens have been a tough team to figure out this year but at the moment are the final team on the ‘lead pack’ in the Atlantic Division. The problem is that if the season ended today that would get them nothing more than a cozy seat in front of the television to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They’re eight points back of the Boston Bruins and the final divisional playoff spot and they’re five points back of a wildcard spot. The Senators are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games and the reason why is obvious–they’re tied with Columbus for the worst scoring defense in the NHL allowing 3.11 goals per game. Ottawa can score goals and are ranked #8 in goals per game (2.79). At least they can even strength–their power play is mediocre at best (#22 17.7%) and their league worst penalty kill (74.1%) is also a problem.

They’ll face a red hot Tampa Bay team that is trying to close the distance between themselves and the Atlantic leading Florida Panthers. The Lightning are six points back and at the same time are trying to gain some separation from the rest of the division. They’re tied with Boston and one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings. They’re also playing the best hockey in the NHL winning 9 of their last 10 games (9-1-0). Both teams should be rested and are coming off wins–Tampa Bay beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Friday night while the Senators ripped Toronto 6-1 on Saturday night. That was only the Senators second win in seven games and that says less about Ottawa than it does about the rebuilding Leafs.

Ottawa does get a small break–they get to face backup Andrei Vasilevskiy instead of starter Ben Bishop. That might not be any real advantage–Vasilevskiy has won six straight games and has emerged as one of the best backup goalies in the league. Just a lot to like about the Bolts right now and not much to like about Ottawa.


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