Atlantic Division rivals meet on Thursday night on NBCSN, as the Ottawa Senators visit the Boston Bruins. This could easily be a first round playoff preview depending on how each team finishes, but both teams must hold off Tampa Bay for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa has dominated this series of late, winning 8 of the last 10 including all three meetings this season. Let’s take a look at Thursday’s game and NHL picks.
This war on the ice will go down Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 7 p.m. ET at TD Garden. The game will be televised live on NBCSN.
We'll have NHL odds at BookMaker.eu available for this and every game on the NHL Thursday schedule.
The Bruins will be home favorites in this contest but we really won’t know each team’s motivation until Thursday. The Senators may have already wrapped up a playoff spot before this game as they will be coming off a home and home with Detroit. This will be a 3-in-4 for Ottawa but at least they did have Wednesday off. Ottawa was 21-17 on the road in their first 38 road games with 18 games going over, 18 going under, with two pushes.
Boston will be coming off their huge game against Tampa Bay on Tuesday and then they had Wednesday off. If the Bruins won the game against Tampa they will have already clinched a playoff spot. Boston was 22-16 in their first 38 home games with 18 games going over, 17 going under, with three pushes.
The Senators are fortunate just to be in playoff contention because they have poor special teams. They are 23rd in the league on the power play at 17.5% and they score just 2.5 goals per game, which is 22nd. They are just 18th in penalty killing at 80.5% and they allow 2.6 goals per game, which is 12th in the league.
Boston is 7th on the power play at 21.2% and they are 12th in goals per game at 2.9 per contest. They are 2nd in the league in penalty killing at 85.3% and they are 11th in the league, allowing 2.6 goals per contest.
The Senators have not been playing well but they have plenty of chances to wrap up a playoff spot. The problem is that they have five games this week with the home and home against Detroit on Monday and Tuesday and a back-to-back with the Rangers and Islanders on Saturday and Sunday.
The Senators were without Erik Karlsson early in the week but he should be available for this game on Thursday. Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion said that although his team is challenged on the blue line with injuries, he is still happy that his club is in contention.
“Overall, we’re still in a pretty good spot,” Dorion said to the Ottawa Citizen. “We were going to hit a bump at some point in time in the year and unfortunately this bump has come when we’ve seen injuries — we’ve lost our top three defensemen. But this team has faced a lot of adversity all year. I think both the coach (Guy) Boucher and I have a lot of faith in this group. I know we’ll pull through. There’s not going to be a season where we’re not going to face a bump on the road and it’s at an unfortunate time but I think it gets us playoff mode earlier than a lot of other teams.”
The Bruins have no excuse for not making the playoffs, as they play their last three games of the regular season at home, as they host Tampa on Tuesday, the Senators on Thursday and Washington on Saturday.
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Ottawa has won all three games against Boston this season, winning 3-1 and 4-2 at home and 3-2 in Boston. Ottawa has won four of the last five in Boston with two of the last three going over.
It is really tough to know which team is going to have more motivation so I will avoid a side and just take the game under the total.
NHL Odds: Bruins 3, Senators 2
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