The St. Louis Blues are back on the ice for the second of their five-game road trip on Thursday night in Ottawa. They had a couple of days off to enjoy their 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Following tonight, they’ll make the short trip to Montreal for a date with the Canadiens on Saturday.
The road trip will wrap up in New York against the Islanders the Islanders two days later. They won’t play back in St. Louis until next Thursday night against the Canucks. Their four-game road trip feels a lot longer, as it will have been 12 days in between their last game at home, which was their season opener.
The Blues are perfect on the road trip thus far, with wins of 3-2 against the Stars and Maple Leafs. Tonight will mark only the third game of the season for the Senators. They opened the season with a 5-3 loss against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, and then dropped a 4-1 decision against the Rangers this past Saturday.
Two games into the season and the Senators already have had a long break from action. As a player, I wouldn’t really like that after getting the season underway. I’d rather, and I think most people would agree, that it’d be more beneficial later in the season when the legs start to get tired and weary. The Senators likely don’t have to worry about a late playoff push, so it’s all a moot point.
In any event, the Senators should be feeling extra fresh for their matchup against the Blues tonight. They’ve had plenty of time to prepare for the Blues. There aren’t going to be any excuses for coming out flat, but this is the defending Stanley Cup Champions we are talking about.
St. Louis have earned a point in all three games they’ve played, with their season opener against the Capitals the only loss thus far. They will look to avoid an upset against the Sens tonight. Head below for our free Blues vs. Senators pick.
St. Louis Blues vs. Ottawa Senators Pick
Despite the lengthy layoff, the Senators are going to give Craig Anderson the night off and go to the backup. Anderson is off to a shaky start to the season, as he’s posted a 4.58 GAA and 0.875 save percentage on 72 shots. He may be a giant scapegoat for the team in 2019-20, though. There aren’t too many goaltenders in the NHL who would find success in Ottawa. At some point the defence must help the netminder out and there isn’t much of it to be found in Ottawa.
The Senators finished dead last defensively a season ago. They allowed an average of 3.67 goals per game, which was largely because of a poor blue line. Blame the goaltending all you want, but the Senators were also last in shots allowed per game. They had to deal with an average of 35.7 shots per game and a plethora of scoring chances in front of the net.
It’s been more of the same for the Sens to open the year. Ottawa have allowed 4.5 goals and 36 shots per game, so it’s right back to what they were accustomed to a season ago. Without Erik Karlsson on the blue line, the Senators have looked completely lost and there are no indications it is going to get better for them soon.
This does not bode well against Jordan Binnington and the Blues’ defence. Expect the Blues to be able to get their offence going tonight, forcing the Senators to do something in the attacking zone. The Senators acquired Nilsson from the Canucks last season, and all things considered, he performed decently enough with a 2.90 GAA and 0.914 save percentage. Combined with the Canucks, Nilsson finished with a 2.97 GAA on the season.
They’re going to need a standout performance by him to have a shot at the upset tonight. Nilsson might have an okay game, but okay will likely still result in a 4-1 or 3-1 loss for the Senators. The Sens are coming into this contest fresh off a nice four-day break. However, it probably won’t matter in the end with the Blues in town. Considering the price of +125, the Blues are worth a look on the puckline here.