The New Jersey Devils are still winless with a record of 0-3-3 but if they can take solace in one thing it’s that five of those games have been on the road. They’ll again be away from home on Thursday night when they visit the Ottawa Senators, who have been tough to get a good read on at this early point in the regular season. Like the Devils, they have spent most of their time on the road, so this will be Ottawa’s home opener.
The Senators have won three in a row against the Devils and three out of their last five meetings overall, with three of those games falling under the posted total. In Ottawa, the Senators have won four of the last five, with three games going under the posted total and two games ended in a push. Given the attention and detail that these two teams pay to defense, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
Record: 17-36 (-1569)
The New Jersey Devils can win because…
They have two goaltenders, in Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur, which can steal a game for them. Even though that hasn’t happened yet this season and the two goalies have been flipped in and out, everyone knows the talent is still there. They just have to figure out a way to make both goalies comfortable. The Devils have lost four of their first six games by a single goal and three of those went to overtime, so it is a matter of getting a few breaks here and there. They could have a couple of wins by now and with Schneider and Brodeur in goal, that is going to happen sooner rather than later
However, the Devils need to score goals. People looking to place their NHL picks know that eleven goals in six games isn’t going to cut it in today’s NHL. The goalies are going to come around, but will the offense be ready to help them out? That has been an issue in New Jersey for years now and it continues.
The Ottawa Senators can win because…
Simply put, they’ll be on their home ice for the first time this season. At the end of the last regular season which was, of course, shortened by the lockout, the Senators were 15-6-3. After starting the season on the road, beginning in Buffalo and ending in Phoenix after a swing through the west, the Senators will be excited to play in front of their home fans for the first time this season. That adrenaline can get them the edge in this game.
While this also sounds cliché, the Senators need their best players to continue to be their best players – especially up front. Kyle Turris, Bobby Ryan and Jason Spezza have combined for 15 points so far. Ryan is tied for second on the team with 18 hits and Spezza is coming off a hat trick. If these three play the way they have been, the Senators are going to be tough to beat on Thursday night.
Outlook & Pick
It’s a low number but under seems the best way to go with the NHL odds in this one. Neither team is scoring as they’ve combined for 26 goals in 12 games. I’ll look for this one to stay below the total.
Pick: Under 5 at Bovada