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Senators vs. Oilers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Goaltending Struggles Will Continue (Saturday, Jan. 15)

Senators vs. Oilers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Goaltending Struggles Will Continue (Saturday, Jan. 15) article feature image
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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.

  • Edmonton tries to right the ship on Saturday as Ottawa comes to play.
  • After a strong start to the season, the Oilers have dropped 11 of 14 games but are still -215 favorites tonight.
  • Greg Liodice breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Senators vs. Oilers Odds

Senators Odds +185
Oilers Odds -215
Over/Under 6.5 (-105/-115)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

In the COVID era, things haven’t exactly been easy for teams north of the border. The Edmonton Oilers host the Ottawa Senators tonight, in a rare matchup for both teams. While the Oilers had the luxury of playing more games than the Sens, they are two of the most postponed teams in the league. 

If you look at their last 10 games, the Senators have gone 6-3-1, but how much of that can be relied upon when they’ve only played two games since December 18? Their Thursday win against Calgary was their second game, so the Sens haven’t had a whole ton of game time recently. They look to continue the momentum heading into Northern Alberta.

Two months ago, the Oilers were atop the Pacific Division, and a top team in the NHL. Now, they sit three points out of a playoff spot after losing 11 out of their last 14. That is quite eye popping given that the Oilers roster has two top-five talents in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Senators Starting To Pick Themselves Up 

While the record shows otherwise, the Senators are building a solid core in Ottawa. Drake Batherson leads the team in scoring and was elected to the All-Star team, followed by captain Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris and Thomas Chabot. Injuries have riddled this team, however, as they’ll be without Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev, Shane Pinto, Colin White and potentially Tim Stutzle who’s on the backend of his COVID protocol. Their core players are producing, but with a ton of depth players out, it hurts the team in the long run.

From a rough start to the season, the Sens have picked themselves back up. They were one of the worst teams at generating offense but have managed to climb to 18th in expected goals per 60 with a 2.38 xGF. However, they are the worst team at creating high-danger chances. Ottawa does find a bit of success on the power play though, where they score 18.6% of the time. The positive  for them is that their defense has shown up and doesn’t allow a lot of high-danger chances. They succeed on the penalty kill with a 78% succession rate.

The goaltending situation in Canada’s capital has been in disarray for years. Matt Murray has been an utter disappointment, after being placed on waivers earlier, and he is posting an .892 SV% and a -3.4 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). His partner Anton Forsberg, who hasn’t played since December 18, has been better with a .908 SV% and a 2.5 GSAx. With Murray getting the past two starts, my guess would be that Forsberg gets the nod, but I would monitor it.

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Oilers Season Has Run Dry

What was thought to be a hopeful season has turned into a nightmare for the Oilers. There’s plenty of time to turn it around, but losing 11 out of 14 is not ideal for a team with a playoff-or-bust mentality. Aside from the obvious All-Stars in McDavid and Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi, Zach Hyman and Evan Bouchard have helped. The Oilers have also been hit by the injury bug, missing Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Warren Foegele, Kris Russell and Mike Smith, which has contributed to their quick downfall.

Opposite from their counterparts, the Oilers used to be one of the top creators on offense, and they have progressively fallen down the ranks. They now rank 14th with a 2.46 xGF per 60 and are 20th in high-danger chances created, but they are still the top power-play team, scoring at a 30.2% clip. Edmonton is a pretty decent defensive team, ranking 15th in least high-danger chances allowed.

You’d think the Oilers would figure out their goaltending situation by now, but they haven’t. Mike Smith is out, while Mikko Koskinen and coach Dave Tippett don’t seem to get along. I really like Stuart Skinner, but he hasn’t played since mid-December. He’s posting a .916 SV% and a 0.5 GSAx. Koskinen, on the other hand, has a .900 SV%  and a -6.7 GSAx. My guess is that we see Skinner in net, but time will tell.

Senators vs. Oilers Pick

These two teams haven’t played a ton of hockey recently, and it could get a little sloppy. I’m not particularly high on either team and I see some value in taking the over. Given the goaltending struggles and the dynamic players on both sides, the red light could be going off a bit more than normal tonight.

Pick: Over 6.5

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