NHL Picks: Trust Senators Offense To Outscore Anemic Devils

Bruce Webster

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 1:31 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 1:31 PM UTC

The New Jersey Devils and the Ottawa Senators travel to face each other tonight at the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa, Ontario. Find out with us the best NHL picks for this game.

New Jersey Devils vs. Ottawa Senators
Lines: -123
Total: 5
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The NHL odds are out as the New Jersey Devils (17-14-1-4 SU, 22-14 PL, 11-15-10 OU) have a game at home vs Carolina before this one and they will be looking to get a little revenge in that game after falling to the Canes just three days earlier, while the Ottawa Senators (18-12-2-4 SU, 17-19 PL, 17-19-0 OU) will be off a disappointing loss vs Boston in the second game of a home-and-home series. Ottawa is 7-3 the last 10 at home in the series.


Will New Jersey’s Offense Keep Them From The Playoffs?
The New Jersey Devils come into this game in the 10th spot of the Eastern Conference and you just have to wonder if they will be able to come up with enough offense to make a serious run at playoff spot or will they continue to fade. This is not a team with many scoring options as they have just four players that have more than eight goals this year, one with six and one with five. Really outside of Kyle Palmieri (15) Adam Henrique (13) and Michael Cammalleri (12) they don’t have any consistent offense. The Devils come in ranked 27th in scoring at 2.3 gpg) and 12th in power play conversions, converting on 20% of their chances.

I believe it will be that lack of offense that will keep them from the postseason as they have been getting strong play in the crease, especially from Cory Schneider, who has a solid 2.17 GAA, but is just 15-15 on the year due to the lack of offense. He leads a defense that ranks 7th in the league in goals allowed, giving up just 2.4 gpg, 7th in shots allowed (28.3 spg) and 8th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on just 17.9% of their chances. Keith Kinkaid will get the nod in this one and he is 2-4 with a 2.48 GAA on the year. This will be his first ever meeting with the Sens. Get some offense New Jersey or you will be home for the playoffs.


Will the Senator’s Have Enough Defense To Stay In The Playoffs? 
The Ottawa Senators have the exact opposite problems that the Devils do as they can score plenty, but they have trouble stopping teams from scoring. Right now the Sens hold down the 8th and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race and that is despite the fact that they check in a 22nd in goals allowed, giving up 2.81 gpg, while also ranking 30th in shots allowed (34.0 spg) and 24th in penalty kill (78.3%). Craig Anderson has been playing better of late, as he is 3-1 in his last four starts, but still overall he has a rather high 2.67 GAA, despite the fact that he is 16-13 on the year. He won’t get the start here as he started the game in Boston, so it will go to Andrew Hammond, who is 2-4 with a 2.47 GAA on the year and 0-1 with a 3.69 GAA vs the Devils in his career.

This team has their issues on defense, but offense is another story as they come in ranked 4th in the league in scoring, putting up 2.92 gpg, despite the fact that they are 28th in the league in shots taken. This team really makes the most of their shots. On the power play they have been solid, converting on 20% of their chances, which is 13th in the league. Unlike the Devils, the Senators have a few more scoring options as they have seven players on the team with at least eight goals and four of them have at least 10 goals. Mike Hoffman leads the group with 17, while Kyle Turris is 2nd with 13. Just need a little more defense and they will be fine.         


Trends for New Jersey:
1-6 in their last seven games playing on 0 days rest
17-42 in their last 59 road games vs. a team with a winning home record


Trends for Ottawa:
5-0 in their last five home games
5-1 in their last six home games vs. a team with a winning road record


Betting Analysis
These teams are polar opposites of each other, and in this instant, I would rather take the home team that can score vs the road team that can’t. In a battle of backup goalies, I also give the Sens the edge here. Both teams played last night and both will travel for this game, so there is no advantage there. The Sens are the better team in this matchup and will get just enough offense to win the game vs the punchless Devils. Add them to your NHL picks.

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