NHL Betting – Dion Dons New Duds as Sens Visit Wings
Eric ThompsonNo comments
The Ottawa Senators (25-23-6) aren’t going to wait for their ship to right itself, instead steering into the media storm that was trading for defenseman Dion Phaneuf. The former Maple Leaf captain was a lightning rod for criticism in his six years in Toronto, but now he’ll get a fresh start after a nine-player deal sent him up the road to Canada’s capital. Sens fans will hope he can make an immediate impact as Ottawa tries to catch the Detroit Red Wings (27-18-8) in the Atlantic Division playoff race tonight at Joe Louis Arena (7:00 PM Eastern).
Despite being the highest scoring team in the division, Ottawa is currently six points back of the Wings, who own the third and final automatic playoff spot in the Atlantic.
The Sens’ defensive woes (170 goals against) led to the team’s big swing on Phaneuf. While the D-man will bring some much needed grit to the backline, it would be nice for Ottawa if he could leave his penchant for penalties in Toronto. He currently ranks fourth among defenseman with 67 penalty minutes, and the Senators have the league’s worst penalty kill (74.6-percent).
Tonight’s starting goalie, Craig Anderson (22-17-4, 2.86 GAA), is not having his best season by any means, but you can expect a bit of a decline when you face more shots than any other goalie in the league.
Detroit has had no need to make blockbuster moves this year, or any other for that matter. The most consistent organization in pro sports, the Red Wings are well on there way to making the playoffs again this season, a streak that has stretched over a quarter of a century. But new for the team this year is the success they’ve had in the crease: starter Petr Mrazek (20-10-4, 1.97 GAA) has the lowest goals against average in the NHL.
Coupled with the early success of 19-year-old rookie Dylan Larkin (who has a team-leading 18 goals and 38 points), Detroit is a solid squad that will be tough to reel in. The good news for the Senators, at least for tonight, is that the Red Wings are better on the road (14-8-3) than they are at home (13-10-5). The Senators won their first trip to Detroit this year (3-1) but that win came with Jimmy Howard between the pipes for the Wings.
This game marks the middle of a five-game homestand for Detroit, who took the first two against the New York Islanders and the Atlantic-leading Florida Panthers. While the Senators offense is hot coming into this one, having scored 18 goals in their last four games, look for Mrazek and Red Wings to shut down a new-look Sens group that’s trying to gel in a hurry.
Pick: Detroit (-165).