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Senators vs. Canucks NHL Odds & Picks: Back Ottawa For A Rare Win (April 22)

Senators vs. Canucks NHL Odds & Picks: Back Ottawa For A Rare Win (April 22) article feature image

Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Murray #30, Brady Tkachuk #7 and Connor Brown #28.

  • It's been a long season for Ottawa who sit in last place of the North Division and have failed to beat Vancouver this year.
  • The Canucks, meanwhile, are riding high after two-straight wins coming off their long COVID hiatus.
  • The Canucks, meanwhile, are riding high after two-straight wins coming off their long COVID hiatus.

Senators vs. Canucks Odds

Senators Odds +130
Canucks Odds -155
Over/Under 6.0
Time | TV Thursday, 10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday night and via BetMGM.

I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When things are normal, it’s certainly a great city to live in. Especially, if you’re not a Maple Leafs fan. When spring turns to summer you don’t usually have to worry about massive disappointment. In fact, there’s a sweeter smell in the air when the Leafs make their annual first-round exit. 

Unfortunately this year, for this season, we can’t even make jokes about the Leafs potentially heading to golf courses should they have their usual flunk out. For those unaware, as part of yet another full-scale lockdown, the provincial government has somehow concluded that golf courses can’t be open. Literally, the only thing that people should be able to do, we can’t. We’re not talking about parades here. That, I understand. Though after the Leafs lost to the Canucks in two straight games, following Vancouver’s three-plus week COVID hiatus, no one’s worrying too much about setting up the route at this point. 

Meanwhile the Canucks playoff chances have gotten a shot in the arm, not unlike, well… you know. In fact, while they’re not literally planning a championship celebration, the two wins over the Leafs certainly feel like the highlight of an otherwise lost season. Which might set up nicely for a spot to fade the Canucks on Thursday night. 

Ottawa Senators

On Tuesday in Calgary, the Ottawa Senators did what they do when facing the Flames (or the Canadiens) this season. They won, improving to 6-2 against the Calgary. Combine that mark with their 5-3 record against Montreal, and you’d be hard pressed to believe they’ve only won five other games this season. 

The Senators have had five tries to knock off the Canucks, and they’ll get four more this week as the two teams meet for two in Vancouver and two more in Ottawa. It’s the closest either team may get to a playoff-format series. 

While the Senators’ win over the Flames wasn’t their best performance, my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, is still kinder to them than the market. While the Senators are literally never favoured against anyone, the model only makes them 4% below average at even-strength. When they get league-average goaltending, they’re capable of knocking off any team in the North Division. 

In the Senators’ visit to Vancouver in the season’s first few weeks, they did not get any semblance of professional goaltending, leading to the Canucks’ ability to convert 11 of their 35 even-strength High-Danger Chances in sweeping all three games. A HDC conversion rate of almost two-thirds is better than double the league average of 14%. 

In their return matchups in Ottawa in March, the Senators tempered the Canucks’ conversion rate to 17.6% in the two games, and both games were tied through regulation. While the Canucks won both coin tosses, one in OT and one in the shootout, the Senators were more than capable of winning both as they earned 4.92 Expected Goals at even-strength to just 3.64 for the Canucks. 

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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 and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks take a major change in role, going from the lovable underdog position that they had against the Leafs, to having the big minus next to their price against the Sens. 

While the Canucks took four points from Toronto to revive their season more than just returning to Rogers Arena ice ever could, they did so with some rough underlying metrics. Vancouver won the first game on Sunday in overtime, on the back of a 37-save performance by Braden Holtby, as they only mustered five even-strength High-Danger Chances on offence to the Leafs’ barrage of 14. 

Two nights later, the Canucks won a little more convincingly on the scoreboard, with a 6-3 win, on the back of a 37-save performance by Holtby, and while the HDCs were closer, the Leafs still won the 5-on-5 Expected Goal category 2.56-1.88. 

As clutch as Holtby was in a pair of really big results for the Canucks’ self-belief, they still are waiting for the return of their number-one netminder, Thatcher Demko. Whether he gets back between the pipes, or Holtby gets a third-straight start, we do have something of a sell-high situation with the Canucks’ goal prevention, especially considering they’re thin on the blue line with Alexander Edler suspended. 

Betting Analysis & Pick

Given the goaltending by Holtby was what allowed the Canucks to steal the games with Toronto, their chances of keeping their collective heads above water probably still rest on getting better-than-average goaltending. This of course, has been the story of the Senator’s season, so we’ve got a pair of teams that have questionable back-stopping.

If we want to add in the narrative element of a possible letdown spot here for the Canucks,  I think the Senators are worth a shot as underdogs. Given their star-crossed history of having the rug pulled out from under them, a Canucks first loss of the season to Ottawa would be a fitting result. I won’t be surprised if after the incredible high of knocking off the Leafs twice, and the Pacific Ocean air tasting sweeter than ever, that the Canucks drop an excusable stink-bomb on Thursday night. 

Pick: Senators (+130 or better)

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