NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Coyotes vs Senators (Friday, March 1)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Coyotes vs Senators (Friday, March 1) article feature image

Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Andre Tourigny of the Arizona Coyotes

Coyotes vs. Senators Odds

Friday, March 1
7 p.m. ET
Coyotes Odds+155
Senators Odds-190
Over / Under
-120o / +100u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Arizona Coyotes vs. Ottawa Senators on Friday, March 1 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

Arizona's collapse since late January has resulted in oddsmakers treating Ottawa as heavy favorites. However, the Senators have their own problems, so is there an opportunity here to win with the underdog?

Let's preview the upcoming contest and offer a Coyotes vs. Senators prediction and pick.

Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes suffered a 4-2 loss to Toronto on Thursday – their 14th straight defeat.

To be fair, two of those losses went to overtime and nine of the contests finished with a gap of just two goals, so Arizona has at least been sticking in games for the most part. But the result is the same.

Before this skid, they were 23-19-3 and just two points behind Nashville for the second wild-card spot while having played two fewer contests. Now Arizona is 23-31-5  and has no realistic hope of making the playoffs.

The worst part is there isn't one specific thing that can be pointed to for the Coyotes' shortcomings. Instead, this losing skid has been a complete team collapse.

Arizona's offense was never great, but its average of 3.00 goals per game through 45 contests was at least OK. However, the Coyotes have managed just 2.36 goals per game during the skid, ranking them 30th in that span.

Clayton Keller is continuing to do his best to lift the squad by supplying three goals and 10 points over his past 12 contests, but there isn't much else there to be happy about. The pre-slump Coyotes had seven players averaging at least 0.6 points per game and just two players (Keller and Matias Maccelli) are over that bar during the hard times.

As if that wasn't all bad enough, Keller will miss Friday's contest due to an upper-body injury, taking one of the few Arizona players still performing out of the equation.

Meanwhile, the goaltending has been monstrously bad with an average of 4.57 goals allowed per game over the past 14 outings. No other team comes close to that level in that span.

Connor Ingram stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss to Toronto on Thursday, so Karel Vejmelka will likely be in net on Friday. The 27-year-old is 6-15-2 with a 3.62 GAA and an .891 save percentage across 26 appearances this season, including a 4.98 GAA and an .862 save percentage over his last five games.

Ottawa Senators

Sending a struggling goaltender against the Senators is dangerous because one thing Ottawa can do reliably is score.

Thanks to a forward corps featuring Tim Stutzle (14 goals, 54 points), Claude Giroux (18 goals, 52 points), Brady Tkachuk (26 goals, 50 points), Drake Batherson (20 goals, 44 points) and Vladimir Tarasenko (15 goals, 38 points), the Senators rank 11th offensively with 3.30 goals per game.

The Senators are even better since Shane Pinto made his season debut on Jan. 21. The 23-year-old has provided five goals and 13 points across 16 outings. The result is that Ottawa has the flexibility to move a forward like Batherson to the third line, a role for which he's overqualified.

Ottawa's also an underrated team defensively with an xGA/60 of 2.94, the eighth-best in the league. However, despite a strong, deep offense and a solid defense, Ottawa has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference at 25-29-3. How? The primary culprit is goaltending.

Joonas Korpisalo hasn't been able to take advantage of the solid play of those in front of him, instead posting a 13-19-3 record, 3.41 GAA and .887 save percentage through 39 games. Anton Forsberg hasn't been a particularly appealing alternative either with his 11-9-0 record, 3.25 GAA and .889 save percentage in 21 contests.

If Ottawa is the team Arizona finally ends its drought against, odds are it will be due to the shortcomings of the Senators' netminders.

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Coyotes vs. Senators

Betting Pick & Prediction

That said, Arizona besting Ottawa isn't an especially likely scenario.

In addition to factoring in the Coyotes' slump, it's also worth remembering that Arizona is likely running on fumes going into its third road game in four days and its fourth in six. On top of that, the Coyotes are a poor road team even under normal circumstances with an 8-17-5 record. The Senators, meanwhile, are a strong 17-13-2 in Ottawa.

There's just not a good enough reason for me to justify recommending the Coyotes as an underdog play. I gave some thought to the Over 6.5 goals given the poor goaltending that will likely be featured tonight, but the Coyotes' slumping forwards, especially minus Keller, gives me pause.

Instead, I think taking Ottawa on the puck line with the spread of 1.5 goals in favor of Arizona is the best option available.

Pick: Ottawa Senators -1.5/puck line (+135 at BetMGM) | Play to +110

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