Senators vs. Oilers NHL Odds & Picks: Lean Into Ottawa’s Goaltending Issues (Tuesday, Feb. 2)
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Murray.
- The Senators head head to take on Winnipeg on Monday night in the North Division.
- Ottawa has two struggling goaltenders that have made it difficult to get anything going this season.
- Matt Russell breaks down how he's using that to his betting advantage.
Ottawa Senators vs. Edmonton Oilers Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday at 10 p.m. and via DraftKings.|
“We have to go back!”
One of the signature lines from the mid-2000s show “Lost,” as Matthew Fox’s character Jack exclaims that they have to return to the island they’ve been trying so hard to get away from.
In this space on Sunday, I kindly asked the Senators goaltending, specifically Matt Murray, to just buy his teammates some time. Please hold down the fort just long enough for the Ottawa skaters to put their usual first-period pressure on the Edmonton Oilers and see if they could convert that into a lead and go from there.
I’m not about to deplore you that we have to return to Sens Island. Maybe there’s another way to save ourselves and our friends.
We were quite certain the Senators could play better than their pregame valuation as +185 underdogs while 5-on-5, and might even be better than the Oilers who were coming off a big win the night before on Hockey Night In Canada, over the Toronto Maple Leafs. None of it mattered.
The Senators still sit fourth in the NHL in Expected Goal Share while at a neutral game state — game tied/even strength. I say “still” because the 8 seconds during which the game was in this state didn’t allow for the Sens metrics to change in this category on Sunday night. Congratulations, I guess?
Murray panic-froze a puck seconds into the opener of the Senators three-game set with the Oilers. A bad bounce of the ensuing face-off ended with the puck being in the net behind Murray just 8 seconds in.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Two more goals on Murray and a fourth goal on replacement Marcus Hogberg gave the Oilers four goals in the first 10 minutes. Even with the nightly net disaster, the Senators’ skaters didn’t give up, scoring three of their own in the first period in an attempt to keep pace, down just 5-3 at intermission.
The goals kept coming on Hogberg though, and the Senators fell, 8-5, on a night where they created 13 High-Danger Chances (HDC) at even strength to the Oilers one, single, solitary HDC.
Give credit where it’s due: The Oilers took advantage of the early goal, and their power play, which had struggled so far this season, exploded for four goals on five chances.
Leon Draisaitl nearly set an NHL single-game assist record. It must have been really fun to win a game without going out of your way to create offense while at even-strength. Especially after a late night the night before.
The bad news for the Oilers, beyond that game-script being almost impossible to replicate, is that their rating actually went down in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast. They likely won’t care that I have them rated below-average at this point in the season, but we believe in regression in these parts.
That regression may not come on Tuesday night since there’s no reason to think the Senators will give Edmonton any resistance in the crease whatsoever. Murray’s GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average) has hit an incredibly atrocious -10.28, quite easily the worst in the NHL. Hogberg is sitting in third-last with a -5.76 GSAA.
Maybe the Senators will be able to contain the Oilers power play at something below 80%, because if they’re relying on five goals of their own, the Oilers will be sending starter Miko Koskinen back between the pipes for the rematch.
Betting Analysis & Pick
When betting this game, the question “What’s the number?” is the only thing worth considering. What’s the number that will allow you to consciously bet on the Senators to win the game? It was +185 on Sunday and that was more than enough for me given the situation, but even if you scream at me desperately, I’m not sure I can go back.
There has to be a better way to get off Sens Island, and maybe it’s as simple as leaning into the bad goaltending. Koskinen hasn’t exactly been a brick wall with his -3.03 GSAA. We know the Senators will create chances, and we know they’ll need to if they want to win so maybe over 6.5 is the right play.
The one play I can’t condone is betting the Oilers at the price they’re getting. They’re the Smoke Monster in all of this. You can bet the Senators, I’ll see you on the other side, brother.
Pick: Over 6.5 | Senators (+185 or better)