NHL Picks: Lightning vs. Senators to Go 'Under' in Low Scoring Game

David Lawrence

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 11:10 PM GMT

Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2015 11:10 PM GMT

The Ottawa Senators are fighting for their playoff lives and they need to collect the full two points on Thursday if they’re hoping to sneak into the postseason. They enter the night three back of Boston and have to find a way to beat Tampa Bay even though the NHL betting lines indicate the game opened a PICK.

The Tampa Bay Lightning Can Win Because…
Ottawa has cooled off of late. Yes, they are coming off a win but Ottawa has actually dropped three of their last four and their lone win was via a shootout (in Detroit). While they had been one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the last month, they have somewhat lost their way. They were in the driver’s seat for the eighth and final playoff spot but the three-game losing streak threw them off course.

At the heart of Ottawa’s success has been rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond, who was one of the NHL’s three stars in the month of March. The trouble is that he’s faded of late. He held a slumping Red Wings team to just one goal on Tuesday but he’s battling a back injury. Prior to that, he had coughed up 14 goals in his last four. Tampa Bay brings in the league’s best offense and they should be able to find their way through Hammond, who has struggled of late. The Lightning are catching the Senators at the right time.

 

The Ottawa Senators Can Win Because…
Tampa Bay is in a big funk themselves. They’ve also lost three of their last four, including an embarrassing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Toronto on Tuesday. Their offense scored five goals against Montreal on the weekend – a team they seem to dominate – but has scored just three goals in their last three losses.

The other major factor here is home-ice advantage. NHL odds makers have seen that the Lightning have not been a good road team all season long as they are 17-22 in away games. Other than beating Montreal twice, the Lightning have lost five straight on the road. Goaltender Ben Bishop has an .897 save percentage on the road and the team is far more vulnerable when they’re away.

The Sens look like they got back on track with their gritty win in Detroit. While it wasn’t pretty, it got them back in the game for the playoff race and if they bring the same type of effort on Thursday, they should be able to earn another win.

Which team will take over the Eastern Conference?

Outlook
This game looks like a bit of a coin flip as it’s hard to tell whether Hammond is back on track or whether his strong performance in Detroit was just a good game against a struggling team. And Ben Bishop tends to play well against his former team, winning six of eight starts while posting a 2.30 GAA and a .924 save percentage. That being the case, I’ll take a shot with the under in this spot. The atmosphere should be tense and playoff-like as both teams have positioning on the line. Take the under with your NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Under 5.5 at BetOnline

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