The Oilers have alternated wins and losses over their last six games as they skate into Ottawa to meet the cellar-dwelling Senators. Let’s analyze this matchup and determine if there is any value on the home dog here. Or perhaps the road chalk is worthy of a wager in our NHL picks on Wednesday afternoon.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Ottawa Senators
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 – 5:00 PM ET at Canadian Tire Centre
The Oilers have hit a few speed bumps lately, the most recent of which occurred on Monday when they faced off against the Canadiens in Montreal and watched a two-goal lead wither away into a 3-2 overtime defeat. Devin Shore drew first blood with his third goal of the season in the opening stanza while Darnell Nurse scored late in the second period, his 13th of the season, on a power-play situation to increase the lead to 2-0.
However, the final period proved to be Montreal’s chance to shine and thanks to even-strength goals from Josh Anderson and Tomas Tatar, the game would go into the overtime frame. The Canadiens’ Eric Stall would seal the deal with his fourth goal of the season and clinch the victory for le bleu-blanc-rouge.
“Best way to protect a lead is to play in the other team’s end and we were just the first five minutes or so (of the third) too passive, didn’t do enough forechecking to give us the momentum we needed,” Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said.
Senators Not in 7th Heaven
The Senators will try to break a brutal streak of losing all seven games to their divisional rivals from Edmonton this season. It has been a woefully disappointing season for Ottawa but not entirely unexpected based on their 62-point campaign from last year. Their most recent performance, a 4-3 loss to the Jets on Monday, was just more of the same.
At least it can be said Ottawa didn’t completely roll over after falling behind 4-1 to Winnipeg, as they mounted a third-period rally consisting of a power-play goal from Josh Norris followed by Connor Brown’s 10th of the season five minutes later. The Senators played a more physical brand of hockey, out-hitting Winnipeg 32-21 but that was about the only area in which the Senators excelled. The Jets outshot the Sens 46-23 and won more than double the number of faceoffs, 37-18.
Ryan Dzingel notched the first goal of the game in the second period for Ottawa, and his eighth of the season, but was openly disappointed with his team’s effort.
“I’m sure we’re going to fix it and be ready to go next game,” Dzingel noted. “Because that clearly wasn’t good enough.”
Ottawa’s netminder, Anton Forsberg, was under siege throughout the evening and turned aside 42 of 46 shots, eight of those coming when his team was short-handed.
Wanna Make a Bet?
The early NHL odds are revealing the Oilers as -180 to -185 road chalk and it is hard to argue with those numbers considering Edmonton has absolutely dominated the Senators this season. In their seven meetings thus far, the Oilers are 7-0 over their neighbors from Ottawa and have outscored them 34-15, which means the average score between the clubs this season is 4.85 to 2.14. That is nearly a three-goal margin of victory per game for the Oilers and a statistic that is hard to discount when analyzing this matchup.
Ottawa is ranked 24th on offense, scoring an average of just 2.62 goals per game while their defense is dead last in the league, allowing 3.72 goals per game. And it doesn’t get much better when focusing on the Senators’ special teams. They clock in with the 26th least effective power play, connecting on only 15.2 percent of their opportunities while their penalty-killing unit is ranked 23rd, extinguishing 76.9 percent of their opponents’ man-advantage situations.
And this is why Edmonton has been so dominant against the Senators this season. Edmonton has several slick forwards on its roster but no one better than 24-year-old Connor McDavid. The Oilers check-in with the second-best power-play unit, clicking on 26.4 percent of its opportunities and that huge disparity on special teams, when Edmonton has the man-advantage, is a notable difference-maker.
Don’t sweat it, just bet it. Edmonton that is, and watch their domination over the Senators continue on Wednesday.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.