Only two NHL hockey betting opportunities on the board for Monday and we’ll look at Game #17/18 as the Ottawa Senators head South to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sens are still tied for the worst record in the Eastern Conference but they’ve shown a bit of life lately. They’ve won two straight, 3 of their last 4, 4 of 6 and 5 of 8. This wouldn’t be cause for optimism for most teams but given how pitiful Ottawa looked early in the season after they started 1-4-1 it’s a pretty impressive rebound. The Senators are scoring goals and getting good defense–at least against the teams that they should be competitive against. Their three losses came at Boston, at the Islanders and at home against the Islanders. These are teams that are among the NHL’s elite. In their five wins they’ve scored 23 goals and allowed 9. For this stretch that’s an average of 4.6 goals per game scored and 1.8 goals per game allowed and these would be solid numbers for any team in the league.
Carolina has been slumping of late and enter this matchup on a four game losing streak dropping games at Ottawa, home against the Rangers, at Philadelphia and home against New Jersey. Since October 16 the Canes are 3-6-1. During the Hurricanes four game losing streak they’re not scoring goals and allowing quite a few. During that stretch they’ve allowed 17 while scoring only 7. That’s an average of 1.75 for and 4.25 goals against during that losing streak and that’s a problem. Neither of Carolina’s goaltenders have been effective in that stretch with James Reimer and Petr Mrazek both struggling.
For the season, the Hurricanes are middle of the pack in team offense putting up 3.06 goals per game. The good news is that the Senators have been able to drag themselves out of the team offense basement and now rank #21 scoring 2.81 goals per game. Ottawa is up to #22 in team defense allowing 3.13 goals per game. Carolina had been playing good defense up til the recent swoon and now #14 in the league with a 2.94 goals against average. Carolina’s power play has been decent ranking #11 with a 21.8% strike rate. Ottawa is still dead last in power play success hitting on just 0.69% of man advantage opportunities. These two teams’ penalty kill have been nearly identical–Carolina ranks #19 with a 81% kill rate and Ottawa is right behind at 80%.
The Senators and Hurricanes have split their last four meetings. Ottawa is playing better and that’s why we’ll come right back with them in this ‘quick rematch’ spot. Typically, the correct strategy is to go against the team that won the first time around but we need to account for the relative form of the teams involved. The public hasn’t caught on to the improved performance of the Senators which makes this big underdog price a nice value. We’ll also play ‘Under’ the total.