Senators vs Lightning: Betting 'Under' is Our Sharp NHL Pick

Bruce Webster

Thursday, December 10, 2015 2:01 PM GMT

The Ottawa Senators come in off a win over the Florida Panthers, while the Tampa Bay Lightning come home off a three game west coast trip, check our NHL pick inside.

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NHL Pick: Over 5.5 Even
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Strong Third Period Lifts Sens over Panthers
On Tuesday night the Ottawa Senators played rather lackluster hockey through the first two period of the game, but then they woke up and scored three goals in the third period to win the game by a score of 4-2. Ottawa Trailed 1-0 in the first period and finally got on the board on a Zack Smith goal just 48 seconds into the second period to tie the game. Florida then took a 2-1 lead and it stayed that way until Kyle Turris scored his 12th goal of the year just 51 seconds into the 3rd. Mike Hoffman (15th) got the go ahead goal at the 14:23 mark and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (7th) added an empty better to close out the scoring.

Grabbing the win for the Senators was Craig Anderson, who is now 7-3 in his last 10 starts. For the year he is 13-10 with a 2.74 GAA and vs the Lightning in his career he has gone 7-5 with a very strong 1.68 GAA. The Senators continue to impress at the offensive end of the ice where they rank 4th in the league in scoring, putting up 3.1 gpg, while also checking in at 6th in power play conversions (22.1%). At the defensive end is where they have struggled this year, ranking 23rd in goals allowed, giving up 2.9 gpg and 24th on the penalty kill (77.7%).

 

Still a Struggle on Offense for the Bolts
Hard to believe that this is pretty much the same team that finished 8th in the league in scoring last year as come into this game ranked 25th in Scoring at 2.3 gpg, 27th in shots taken per game (27.9 spg) and 25th in power play conversions, converting on just 16.5% of their chances. This is a team that is struggling on all phases of their offense and it continued in their 3-1 road loss to the Kings on Sunday. The Lightning did get off 25 shots in the game, but all they could muster was a goal by Brian Boyle just 27 seconds into the second period. He now has seven goals on the year and just one of three players on the team with seven or more goals.

Taking the loss in the game was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was pulled in the game after allowing the first two goals to the Kings. Ben Bishop should get the start here and has not had a bad year; he just hasn’t had much help from his offense. Bishop is now 11-10 on the year with a very solid 2.00 GAA, while vs the Senators he has gone 6-3 with a 2.25 GAA. He has yet to lose to them in regulation. The defense has been solid for this team in terms of goals allowed, as they are 5th in that department, giving up just 2.2 gpg, but they have struggled on the penalty kill, where they rank 25th.    

  

Trends
Ottawa is:

2-5 in the last seven meetings in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is:

11-4 in their last 15 games playing on three or more days rest

42-20 in their last 62 home games

 

Betting Analysis
The Lightning have had their issues scoring, but I feel they can get a few off of Anderson and the Senators in this one. They are a bad defensive team and may be just what the Lightning need to wake them up. The Senators are a strong offensive squad, but Ben Bishop has a 1.99 GAA at home for the year and he has allowed two goals or less in eight of his last 10 games. Ottawa is hot on the road this year so I expect this to be a closer game than expected and should be high scoring. Against the NHL odds, jump on the Over at the NHL pick.