Senators vs. Canadiens NHL Odds & Pick: Bet Montreal to Beat Ottawa Again (Saturday, April 3)
André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Alexander Romanov #27 of the Montreal Canadiens Brady Tkachuk of Ottawa.
- The Canadiens and Senators play their second game in a row against each other after Montreal won 4-1 on Thursday.
- Montreal sits in fourth of the West Division while Ottawa is last.
- Nicholas Martin explains why he's taking the Canadiens to win again.
Senators vs. Canadiens Odds
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings|
The scrappy Senators will fly in to Montreal for the rematch of the Canadiens’ 4-1 win Thursday night.
Montreal sits fourth in the North Division with 41 points, having only played 33 games. Ottawa sits where most expected them to, last in the North with 28 points through 37 contests.
The Senators have shown a professional compete level and have given an honest effort night in and out. Ottawa have seen positive rookie seasons from Josh Norris and Tim Stützle, as well as a breakout year from Drake Batherson up front. I would certainly say the general positivity around this group is warranted, and coach D.J. Smith has rarely shown anything but positivity towards his young group to the media.
Smith has credited his team’s sense of pride and willingness to work in both games and at practice, reasonably so for a developing young team that has had to fight through poor goaltending.
With that said, the Sens have been outplayed significantly at 5-on-5 their last five games, posting a 39.65 xGF %. Their top defensive pairing of Nikita Zaitsev and Thomas Chabot has crumpled at times, with an xGF% of 44.03% through 530.9 minutes of ice time together.
Matt Murray is likely to return from injury, bringing a dreadful 0.880 save percentage into the game. Murray sits at the bottom of the league in the goals saved above expected metric, at -20.9.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
Montreal has had an up-and-down year, flying out of the gates at 7-1-2 but running up a 9-7-7 record since. The Habs come in winners of three straight, including 4-0 and 4-1 wins over Edmonton and Ottawa so far this week.
Montreal has a ton of depth up front, although questions have been asked if it has the elite talent in its top six to make it a legit playoff contender. With that said, the top line of Phillip Danault between Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar did dominate Ottawa Thursday with an 84.30 xGF%.
Montreal sits second over the entire season with a 5-on-5 xGF% of 57.53. The Habs have gone 1-8 in games decided by 3-on-3 and shootout. If they had even a .500 record in these games, the Habs would be getting a lot more credit for how good they have been.
Carey Price has had some struggles this year, with a .906 save percentage overall, stopping -2.1 goals saved above expected. Although Price’s play has quietly trended downward for several seasons, he did post a .936 save percentage in last year’s playoff bubble, and I think we will see him playing better down the stretch.
Betting Analysis and Pick
Ottawa was outclassed by Montreal Thursday, albeit coming off of a week-long layoff, but I still just don’t believe there is a lot of reason why Ottawa should take this one. I am well aware that Ottawa has shocked big favourites at similar prices previously this season, however, I still think taking the heavy juice with Montreal’s moneyline at -225 is perfectly fine. Win that bet 75% of times, and you’re sitting with a great ROI.
It’s certainly the square play, but I think it is well warranted given what we have seen from Montreal this week, coming in rested from a week off due to COVID-19 postponements. The underlying numbers certainly suggest Montreal can climb its way into second or third in the North Division, and I believe this is a good spot to trust them to take the two points.
Pick: Montreal Moneyline (-225) |