It is two teams currently on the outside of the playoff picture with nine games left to play, as the Florida Panthers pay a visit to the Ottawa Senators. It’s time to continue our NHL odds series with a Panthers-Senators pick, prediction, and how to watch.
The Panthers head to Ottawa mired in a three-game losing skid as the season comes to an end. In that time, the Panthers have been outscored by a margin of 16-8, yet have dominated the shots-on-goal battle overall. Poor goaltending, and not taking advantage of opportunities have doomed the Panthers and may be the downfall of their season.
Ottawa lost to the Devils the last time out and saw the Devils clinch their playoff spot in the process. The Senators are 3-6-1 in the last ten, and like the Panthers, goaltending has been suspect but also has been the ability to hold a lead. The last three losses for the Senators have all included them being ahead during the game. Both teams are running out of time if they want to catch the Penguins for the final wildcard spot, but someone tonight will walk out with two much-needed points.
Here are the Panthers-Senators NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Panthers-Senators Odds
Florida Panthers: -1.5 (+168)
Ottawa Senators: +1.5 (-205)
Over: 7.5 (+136)
Under: 7.5 (-168)
How To Watch Panthers vs. Senators
Time: 7:00 PM ET/ 4:00 PM PT
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Why The Panthers Could Cover The Spread
The Panthers are doing everything right to win in the last ten games. They have outshot their opponents in nine of the last ten games, including six games where they have shot over forty times. On the power-play, they have scored in eight of the last ten games and did not allow a power-play goal in five of the last ten games. They have been over 50% in offensive zone possession in seven of the last ten. These are all things that should get the Panthers wins, but they are 6-3-1 in the last ten.
In the last ten games, they are averaging four goals per game as well. The problem has been giving up goals. They are giving up 3.5 goals per game in the last ten, including two games in which they gave up six goals, and two in which they gave up five. Florida is 1-2-1 in those four games. Sergei Bobrovsky has been hit-and-miss in his recent starts. His last two have seen him give up nine goals, both in losses. In the two prior to that, he only gave up four goals in the two games combined, both wins. On the month, he is averaging 2.99 goals against average, but it depends on which Bobrovsky shows up. If the one that limited Vegas and Pittsburgh to a singular goal each, they should win, but if it is the one who gave up five to Winnipeg and Montreal, they will not.
Florida won the first game of the year against Ottawa and will play them once more this year. Matthew Tkachuk scored in the first game and has been scoring on the regular recently, with seven goals in his last seven games. He is integral to the Panthers being able to score, and if he can get one more tonight, beating little brother, Brady, will be in the cards for him.
Why The Senators Could Cover The Spread
The Senators are having trouble scoring, and converting when getting chances. In their last ten games, they have been outshot in six of them. When they are getting shots off, they still are not converting regularly. In a game on March 18th against the Maple Leafs, they managed 52 shots on goal but lost 4-5 in a shootout. This conversion issue is not limited to that one game, as their three highest shot output games in the last ten games have all resulted in losses for the Senators. A 41-shot performance resulted in only one goal in a 2-1 loss to Boston. A 36-shot performance results in a 5-4 loss to Colorado.
Mads Sogaard is expected to be in goal tonight for the Senators. This will be his 14th start of the season, and his initial outings were fantastic. He went 4-0-1 in his first five starts, with a .922 save percentage and 2.33 goals against average. Since then, he is 2-5-1, with a .870 save percentage and 3.88 goals against average. In his last outing, he returned to form some. He gave up just two goals on 29 shots against in a 7-2 win over Tampa Bay.
Beyond goaltending, Ottawa will need to find someone to score. Tim Stutzle leads the team in goals but has not had one in the last four games. Brady Tkachuk has scored seven goals in his last seven games, with only one game under four shots on goal. Brady will have some extra motivation tonight, as he is facing off against his big brothers and will want to get the win.
Final Panthers-Senators Prediction & Pick
Florida has more to play for tonight. While both teams are mathematically alive in the playoff chase, Florida is the only one with a real chance. This has been a disappointing season for Florida after winning the President’s Trophy just last year. Florida has been playing better, and them on the money line would be the safest play tonight.
Final Panthers-Senators Prediction & Pick: Florida -1.5 (+168)