Welcome back from the break!
We enjoyed a very produce first (unofficial) half to the NHL season both in terms of my record and units – the latter representing the only aspect that truly matters.
I’d like to thank everyone who follows my picks on a daily basis as this is truly fun and exciting to write these articles on a near everyday basis.
That said, let’s buckle down and stick to the research as there is plenty of hockey left to play this season and the stretch drive from here on out should provide a ton of entertainment.
We have six games to sort through in our return from the break, so let’s get at it!
Season Record: 82-70-1
Now let’s turn our attention to this free NHL pick featuring the Devils vs. Senators from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa!
Devils vs. Senators Betting Odds
- Devils (+113)
- Senators (-125)
- Devils +1.5 (-215)
- Senators -1.5 (+185)
- Over 6 (-111)
- Under 6 (+101)
Devils vs. Senators NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The break certainly came at a nice time for the Devils.
After impressing with consecutive wins over the Capitals and Lightning while holding each of those high-octane offenses to just one goal apiece, the Devils were blasted in three straight games by a combined 17-6 score, punctuated by a 5-0 thumping in Columbus in their final game before the break.
A sure-fire seller come trade deadline day, the Devils will need to find something to play for moving forward in what has been another disappointing season in Jersey.
The problems have been widespread and certainly at both ends of the ice.
The Devils enter this one ranked 25th with 2.36 goals per game on the road this season and 29th with an 11.9% mark on the power play on the road as well.
Defensively, things aren’t any prettier as they sit 27th with 3.68 goals against per game on the road this season where their 78.4% mark on the penalty kill checks in at 20th.
They also sit 29th with 34.4 shots against per game on the road this season and that’s where their ugly possession numbers start.
Their advanced metrics don’t paint a prettier picture.
At 5v5 on the road this season, the Devils rank 20th with a 47.61% Corsi For%, 26th with a 44.95% Scoring Chances For% and 18th with a 46.98% High-Danger Chances For%. Even if you put the rankings aside, those numbers are just no good.
They haven’t gotten much in terms of luck on the road, either, as their 6.27% 5v5 road shooting percentage is the third-worst mark in the league while the .906 Sv% they’ve received at 5v5 on the road checks in at 24th.
Looking to get that mark turned around for the better tonight with be Mackenzie Blackwood who will make his first start since January 9th in New York when he allowed five goals on 25 shots.
He’s largely been hung out to dry but a poor defensive team and he’s done well to post a 2.96 GAA and .905 Sv% on the season.
He also owns a 2.94 GAA and .914 Sv% on the road where he’s gone 9-5-0 on the season in 14 starts and 17 appearances but will be looking to improve upon his 3.68 GAA and .895 Sv% in the month of January in 10 starts and 12 appearances this evening.
The Senators were in a full-blown free-fall entering the All-Star break, but finally got back on the winning track in a 5-2 win over the visiting Flames in their final game before the break.
That said, they were heavily outshot in that one by a 42-21 count, something that’s been a theme of late and goes against what was transpiring earlier in the season on home ice.
Once one of the better home possession teams in the league, the Senators have taken a step back in that department of late, getting outshot 115-78 over their last three games at home and have seen their advanced numbers absolutely plummet as the season’s moved along.
At 5v5 at home for the season as a whole, the Senators now rank 29th with a 47.14% Corsi For%, 26th with a 48.63% Scoring Chances For% but also 16th with a nice 53.40% High-Danger Chances For%. Still, these numbers are nowhere close to where they were just a few weeks back.
One thing the Senators have had on their side at home this season has been goaltending and that has remained the case despite their losing skid.
Ottawa ranks 10th with a .927 Sv% at home this season in 5v5 action and their .831 Sv% on high-danger scoring chances checks in at 11th.
Looking to keep that strong work going tonight will be Marcus Hogberg who has been very good of late and done solid work at home for the season.
He’s appeared in just 11 NHL games this season with nine starts, but Hogberg has posted a 2.89 GAA and .913 Sv% at home in five starts while he’s been excellent in the month of January with a 2.24 GAA and .926 Sv% in four starts and five appearances for the month.
The problem of late has been goal support as the Sens scored two goals or fewer in five in a row before the five-goal outburst prior to the break.
The Sens’ offense as a whole is tied for 18th with 3.13 goals per game and their defense has surrendered 2.88 goals per game at home this season, good for 16th place league wide.
I’ve made some money on the Senators at home this season as they were listed as underdogs for the most part despite sporting some quality numbers in terms of their defense and possession.
While that’s no longer the case, I think we have to side with the home team in this one
For one, it’s not like the Devils are hot. In fact, they finished the unofficial first half of the season on a miserable note while the Senators at least had a win to finish the break and something to build on.
The Devils should get their leading point-getter Kyle Palmieri back tonight, but the Senators get perhaps their most important forward back in Jean-Gabriel Pageau who missed the final two games before the break with a neck injury. Pageau means a ton to this team.
The Senators have shown a ton of fight this season despite sporting a less than inspiring roster on paper and, until recently, largely exceeded expectations.
Coach D.J. Smith has instilled that fight in them, and I think he will have his team ready to fight for this one after a tough skid followed by a win.
With the home ice advantage, this is a game the Senators should win so I’ll ride with them on the moneyline tonight.