Our featured selections begin the week a solid 17-8 record. After last night’s loser on the Phoenix Coyotes, we’ll focus on a key divisional clash between two Canadian teams. The Habs travel to Canada’s capital, to take on the severely depleted Ottawa Senators.
Montreal Canadiens (-125) @ Ottawa Senators (+105)
An all-Northeast divisional clash takes place Monday evening in Canada’s capital as the Ottawa Senators play host to the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams were considered fringe playoff teams at the outset of the season, but both have enjoyed roaring starts in 2013. The Habs enter as winners of 6 of their last 7 contests, while Ottawa has won four straight with a limited roster.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Senators routed Montreal by a 5-1 scoreline, but times have definitely changed since then. Montreal has enjoyed a dominant start to 2013, and while Ottawa isn’t far behind, their roster is in shambles. With Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, and Craig Anderson all injured, their playoff hopes are about to be washed away. Montreal has gotten P.K. Subban back since these teams last met, and look primed for a return to the post-season.
The Ottawa offense has gone stale, and that will continue with all of their injuries. While they’ve picked up their defensive play of late, it remains to be seen if that will continue throughout the duration of the year. Montreal is a pesky group, and clog up the neutral zone as well as anybody in the league. Look for the Habs to force an inexperienced Ottawa group into making costly turnovers, and expect an opportunistic Habs’ group to capitalize.
Ottawa has played very well this season, but much of their season can be chalked up to playing inferior opposition. This is a team with glaring holes on defense, and without Jason Spezza, Craig Anderson, and Erik Karlsson, their bubble is about to burst. Kyle Turris and Mika Zibinejad are great, young players for Ottawa, but they’re not ready for the marquee minutes just yet.
Montreal is great value in this spot hovering at just over a pick’em price. They’re playing a solid team game, and even though Ottawa has been solid as well, they lack the horses to keep up with Montreal. Games between these two teams in Ottawa usually garner a 50-50 crowd split between Canadiens fans and Senators fans, and that tends to be a tad demoralizing for the home team. Look for the Habs to continue their torrid pace in front of a revved up Scotiabank Place crowd loaded with the famed bleu, blance, et rouge, and win yet another game. Consider Montreal as great road value tonight.
PICK = Montreal (-125)