One of the early surprises in the NHL to this juncture has been the Ottawa. The Senators are the third-best bet in the league, but what has propelled them to second place in the Atlantic Division?
Ottawa was a decent team a year ago with 38-35-9 record and their goal differential of -11 was better than Detroit's (-13), who made the Stanley Cup playoffs.
As of Dec. 6th, the Senators were 15-9-2 and only four points behind Montreal in the Atlantic. When trying to find reasons to back Ottawa in the short term for NHL picks, the picture becomes quite murky.
Offensively, the Sens are 23rd in the league at 2.35 goals a game. Their leading point producer is defenseman Erik Karlsson, which overall is not the ideal situation, however, a good chunk of his points come on the power play, making him a valuable asset and he is as talented a blueliner offensively as there is. After that, center Kyle Turris is the leading goal scorer, however, he is only Ottawa player with double digits (11) in finding the back of the net.
On defense, the Senators are merely ordinary at 16th in goals allowed, with goalie Craig Anderson mostly average, but hard to pick on him these days with a wife battling cancer.
Ottawa's strongest suit is killing penalties, ranked sixth in that department while coming in 17th in power play percentage.
With the Senators in the midst of playing six away games in next eight, including three on the West Coast, not a believer on how they will hold up against the NHL odds at A+ rated Heritage or any other sportsbook.
With Ottawa 62-71 on the road the last 3+ seasons, they are not horrible, but if opposing team can score and has Top 10 power play, have to look to play against the Senators.