NHL Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Bruins vs. Senators (October 18)

NHL Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Bruins vs. Senators (October 18) article feature image

David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg.

  • The Senators are short home favorites on Tuesday night against the Bruins.
  • The Bruins may be the better team, but can they overcome a rest disadvantage in this spot?
  • Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Bruins vs. Senators Odds

Bruins Odds+102
Senators Odds-118
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

For many, Ottawa's offseason moves made it a candidate to possibly shakeup the Eastern Conferences playoff picture, which has remained relatively stale for a handful of seasons.

On the other hand, many believed the Boston Bruins may slip out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Bruins begin the season without some key pieces and with other notable players skating further past their primes.

Yet the Bruins enter this game with a flawless 3-0 record to start the season and sit atop the Atlantic Division standings after a win over the Panthers last night, while the Senators' 0-2 start has them sitting in eighth place.

Ottawa will have a huge opportunity to get the season moving in the right direction Tuesday as the Sens play host to the Bruins for the home opener at Canadian Tire Centre.

Can the Senators' new-look roster claim their first win of the season in this favorable spot?

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Shorthanded Bruins Stepping Up

Boston made somewhat of a surprising shakeup this offseason when it fired coach Bruce Cassidy, but it certainly seems that new bench boss Jim Montgomery has gotten a strong response from the Bruins' veterans in the early going.

The Bruins have managed convincing wins over each of the Capitals, Coyotes, and Panthers to start the season, with a +8 Goal Differential and a 62.54 Expected Goals Rate in those three matchups.

After a season away in the Czech Republic, it was hard to know for sure how effective 36-year-old veteran David Krejci would be as the Bruins' second-line center. Those questions have been answered in the early going, as Krejci has used his high hockey IQ and intelligent puck moving abilities well on a unit with David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha.

Boston's top-three forward units at both ends of the ice have certainly helped to cover a wealth of meaningful absences for the time being.

The Bruins are playing without some elite NHL players to start the season in Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk and also suffered another notable blow when Matt Carlo joined the IR Saturday.

Eventually those absences may catch up to the Bruins in the early going of this season, but at worst, Boston will tread water effectively as they await roster reinforcements.

Holding two strong goaltending options is another strength of Boston's roster. This will make a notable difference in this spot with Jeremy Swayman set to play night two of the back-to-back.

Swayman played to a .914 save % with a +4.2 GSAx rating in 42 appearances last season and by all indications should be a strong option again this year.

Senators Looking to Bounce Back at Home

Ottawa's opening two contests were not entirely discouraging by any means, but Pierre Dorion's new-look roster certainly didn't pop off either.

The Sens fell 4-1 on opening night in Buffalo in a game which was much closer than that score suggested before suffering a tough defeat at the hands of the rival Maple Leafs Saturday night.

In those two games, the Senators played to an Expected Goals Rate of 46.55%, which seemed in line with the eye test, and ultimately both were fair losses.

Ottawa will now look to play its best game of the season in this spot, and I do believe that with the roster at full health now, the Sens are capable of more than we have seen so far.

The additions of Alex Debrincat and Claude Giroux should greatly solidify the top six as well as the power play. With that duo in tow, this young group may take a step forward offensively.

Shane Pinto has been impressive in the early going as well, and he could be a stronger-than-average third option down the middle moving forward.

Ottawa's blue line could be somewhat less of a concern this season as well, with rookie Jake Sanderson likely to make a difference on the second pairing and Erik Brannstrom showing strong form so far on the third unit.

Forsberg was quietly strong behind a horrid Senators defense last season with a +8.5 GSAx and .917 save %, and he has followed that up with a .924 save % and +2.0 GSAx rating to begin this season.

Bruins vs. Senators Pick

This is a favorable spot for the Senators with a rest advantage against a Bruins team that played a fast-paced game in Boston versus the Panthers on Monday. Consequently, the Senators should come out in the home opener playing with a high sense of urgency.

If the Senators are actually going to take meaningful steps forward this season, this is exactly the kind spot where they need to find a way to win. The talent is there to take advantage of a better Boston team in this particular game and offers somewhat of a buy-low opportunity.

This spot reminds me a lot of when Winnipeg hosted New York for its home opener Friday. The Jets took advantage of the scheduling spot on route to a 4-1 win, and I certainly would not argue the Jets are anywhere near as good as the Rangers either.

I'm not huge on motivation angles and that sort of thing compared to some other analysts, but the fact is everything is working in the Senators' favor here, and I think they take advantage.

At -110 I like a play on Ottawa to claim the first win of the season, and I would play the Sens down to -115.

Pick: Ottawa Senators -110 (Play to -115)

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