NHL Picks: Senators vs. Canadiens Game 5

PJ Laferla

Thursday, May 9, 2013 1:20 PM GMT

The Ottawa Senators, who lead the Montreal Canadiens 3-1, have a golden opportunity to close out this first round series on the road tonight when the two teams meet in Game 5 at the Bell Centre in Quebec.


The Senators own a perfect 7-0 record when leading a playoff series 3-1, but Ottawa hasn’t won three consecutive postseason games in six years when they last accomplished the feat during the 2007 NHL campaign.

Most online sportsbooks have pegged Montreal as slight favorites in this contest, listing them at -125 on the money line. Alternatively, you have the option of backing Montreal on the puck line, which NHL odds makers are offering at an extremely generous rate of +250, but the Canadiens will need to beat the Senators by at least two goals for the puck line wager to pay off.

The games total is coming in at 5 goals for this matchup, but before you make a decision on the over/under, it is worth noting that the Senators have typically be involved in low scoring affairs on the road, as 6 of their last 8 on the highway have fallen short of the posted number.

Now, lets take a closer look inside both teams for this crucial Game 5 matchup and determine if it’s Ottawa or Montreal that brings better value for our sports picks tonight.

[gameodds]7/228296/43/us[/gameodds]

The Senators enter play this evening red-hot on the road, winning five of their last six, but the home team is a sterling 10-1 in the last 11 head to head meetings.

However, even though the Canadiens are hosting this contest, one has to think all the momentum is with Ottawa after tying Game 4 with 22.6 seconds left in regulation and then winning it in overtime, pushing Montreal to the brink of elimination.

That said, the Canadiens have beaten the Senators five of the last six at the Bell Centre and are an impressive 6-1 in their last 7 games played on a Thursday.

Montreal must do a better job on defense in the 3rd period if they hope to extend this series. Thus far, the Canadiens have surrendered three goals in Game 1, four in Game 3 and two more in Game 4. That’s a total of nine goals combined in the 3rd period of those games.

Prediction

I like the Senators in this spot playing without pressure and the added stress that comes on the road. Ottawa also wants to avoid giving Montreal more life, which could prove to come back and haunt them if the Canadiens push this series to seven games. However, that won’t happen as I expect the Senators to get the job done and cash in for us and our NHL picks tonight.

NHL Free Pick: Ottawa +115