We have a healthy dose of NHL action coming our way on this Tuesday evening with a total of nine games on the docket.
We’ll dive head first into the action with a Senators vs. Lightning NHL Pick from Tampa Bay!
Senators vs. Lightning Betting Odds
*Odds courtesy of BetOnline
|Senators||+330||+1.5 (+140)||Over 6 (-101)|
|Lightning||-380||-1.5 (-160)||Under 6 (-109)|
Offense and Defense
The Senators’ offense isn’t looking quite as they’d like on paper as they’re without Drake Batherson and Josh Norris off that top line at the moment, but did get Colin White back from his season debut on Saturday and he promptly tallied the team’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the visiting Canadiens.
Welcome back, Colin White! ? pic.twitter.com/rUJB1K7CJq
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 27, 2022
The club’s offense hasn’t taken a step forward from last season, however, as they still just 25th with 2.63 goals per game on the season, although that numbers actually trends in a positive direction on the road where they’ve notched 2.83 goals per game, good for 19th league wide.
The underlying metrics leave something to be desired. The Sens sit 23rd in high-danger chances for/60 and 27th in expected goals for/60 at 5v5, according to Natural Stat Trick. Their 2.31 goals for/60 at 5v5 is right in line with their 2.29 expected mark as it appears they’re certainly deserving of their even-strength offensive fate.
As noted, they scored just once their last time out while they’ve collected an average of 2.17 goals per game over their last six.
If there’s been improvement in this year’s Sens, it’s been on the defensive side of the puck, at least on the surface.
The team has averaged 3.14 goals against per game on the season, a figure that sits 22nd in the league. That figure slips to 3.35 goals against per game on the road, good for the league’s 24th-ranked road defense.
The underlying metrics suggest the team’s defensive play hasn’t improved much, however. The Sens sit 22nd in high-danger chances against/60 and 26th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 on the season. Once again, the numbers align as their 2.55 goals against/60 at 5v5 is in line with their 2.63 expected mark.
The results have been solid of late as the club has yielded an average of 2.33 goals against per game over their last nine while allowing two goals or fewer in six of those nine contests.
Of course, there’s no denying this Lightning offense is among the most dangerous groups in the league again this season and unlike the Sens its a healthy bunch entering this one tonight.
The Bolts sit in a share of seventh in overall offense while averaging 3.43 goals per game on the season, the same number as the Calgary Flames. The club has actually seen their offense fall off on home ice as their 3.16 goals per game at Amalie Arena sits in a share of 13th alongside the Edmonton Oilers.
The club sits fourth in terms of generating high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes of 5v5 hockey, although the fall off to 13th in expected goals for/60 at 5v5. Their 2.79 goals/60 at 5v5 is sitting a little above their 2.51 expected mark, but not egregiously so.
They’re on a roll entering this matchup with 18 goals over their last four games, good for a cool 4.50 goals per game. They had scored 18 goals across six games prior to the recent surge in production.
I’ve noted in these pieces before that the Lightning sport a significantly better defense on home ice and that remains the case.
They sit eighth overall in yielding 2.75 goals per game on the season, but that figure improves to 2.40 on home ice which represents the league’s sixth-ranked home defense. The advanced data is about as good as it gets across the board, however, with the team sitting fifth in high-danger chances against/60 and second in the league in expected goals against/60 at 5v5. Their 2.13 goals against/60 at 5v5 is right in line with their 2.18 expected mark, so this has indeed been a very good defense.
They’ve allowed three goals against in five of their last seven, however, but are coming off a solid 3-2 win over the Predators on the road their last time out.
The No. 1 reason for the Senators’ defensive improvement over the last little while? Matt Murray, the goaltender who makes his 19 start of the season tonight in Tampa.
A simple look at his 2.65 GAA and .920 Sv% on the season tells us he’s indeed been quite good. Those traditional numbers are backed up by a 6.41 goals saved above average (GSAA) that ranks 16th among 71 qualified netminders, as per Hockey Reference.
After a disastrous start to his season which even included a brief demotion to the American Hockey League, he’s been on a tear of late. Murray posted a 2.51 GAA and .924 Sv% in going 4-1-2 across seven January starts while he’s cranked it up a few notches to a 2.11 GAA and .943 Sv% in five February starts, but somehow going just 1-4-0 in the process.
Matt Murray. ? pic.twitter.com/zqOvCwg6QS
— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) February 27, 2022
His splits aren’t so hot on the road where he’s posted a 3.73 GAA and .888 Sv%, but his last eight starts have come at home since he turned his season around.
We don’t have a confirmed netminder for the home side in this one, but without a back-to-back situation at play one would imagine it’s Andrei Vasilevskiy getting the nod in this one tonight.
If so, he would carry a 2.28 GAA and .921 Sv% into action across 40 starts. His 14.18 GSAA sits eighth among those 71 qualified netminders while his splits favor the home side where he’s turned in a stout 1.94 GAA and .929 Sv% across 22 starts on the season versus a more pedestrian 2.70 GAA and .913 Sv% across 18 road outings.
If for some reason it’s backup Brian Elliott getting the nod, it would mark just his third start since the calendar flipped to 2022. The seldomly-used backup owns a 2.62 GAA and .902 Sv% in just 10 appearances (nine starts) while working to a -1.62 GSAA on the season, good for 36th league wide.
Elliott yielded three goals on just 19 shots (.842 Sv%) in a win in Arizona his last time out back on Feb. 11.
The Sens haven’t been too good on the power play this season, an area that was an issue last season as well.
The club sits in a tie for 24th with a 16.8% clip on the man advantage this season while they rank as one of the worst on the road at just 13.4%, good for 30th league wide.
After scoring just one power-play goal in an eight-game span, the Sens have gone 1 for 4 on the man advantage in each of their last two contests.
Penalty killing hasn’t been an issue for this club this season.
The Sens sit 12th overall with a solid 81.4% mark on the PK this season while their 79.2% mark on the road is a palatable figure at 17th in the league.
The Sens have been solid of late as well. Despite allowing a power-play goal in four of their last seven, the team owns an 82.6% clip in that department (19 for 23) in that time and are a perfect 7 for 7 over their last two games.
The Lighting have underwhelmed on the man advantage this season despite entering this one hot. At the same time, the penalty kill has been solid but is struggling at the moment.
Overall, the Lightning sit 17th with a 20.1% clip on the power play this season and rather shockingly sit 25th with a 16.9% clip on home ice. That power play has gone 3 for 8 over its last two and 3 for 12 (25%) over their last four at home, so perhaps they’re getting things pointed in the right direction.
The penalty kill has also underwhelmed, but mostly on the road. Outside of Amalie Arena, the Bolts sit in a tie for 26th with an even 75% mark on the campaign. However, they move all the way up to eighth at home with an 84.3% mark, a near-10% improvement from their subpar road work.
That’s not to say they’re entering this one on a high. They are just 4 for 8 over their last three games and 2 for 5 over their last two, so they’ll be looking to get things turned around in this department tonight.
- Senators are 2-5 in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record
- Senators are 2-6 in their last eight vs. the Atlantic Division
- Under is 5-0 in the Senators’ last five road games
- Under is 20-7 in the Senators’ last 27 overall
- Lightning are 15-6 in their last 21 following a win
- Lightning are 47-18 in their last 65 home games
- Under is 4-1 in the Lightning last five home games
- Over is 4-0 in the Lightning last four vs. the Atlantic Division
Head to Head
- Lightning are 4-1 in the last five meetings
- Lightning are 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in Tampa Bay
- Over is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings
- Over is 7-2 in the last nine meetings in Tampa Bay
Senators vs. Lightning NHL Pick
Of course, this is a lopsided affair from multiple angles, but I think the Sens can hang around in this one.
At 10-16-2 at home and 9-11-3 on the road, the Senators play just as well, if not better on the road. Their offense is better on the road, especially at 5v5 and they have a solid road penalty kill against a Lightning home power play that hasn’t clicked anywhere near as expected this season.
You also have a goaltender in Matt Murray red-hot at the moment and completely capable of stealing a game if need be. Obviously, solving Vasilevskiy is no simple task at the other end of the ice, but the goaltending matchup isn’t nearly as tilted as it may appear on the surface.
One thing this Senators team does is play hard, no matter what. They’re down a couple of their top offensive players, but they have absolutely nothing to lose against a Lightning team that may be looking ahead to a rough matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
Rather than roll the dice on the moneyline, I see significant value in the Sens on the puck line to either pull off the upset or keep this one within a goal.