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The Montreal Canadiens will host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi provides his betting analysis for the game.

Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens Prediction: Look for Another Strong Performance from the Senators

Tuesday will be an exciting evening of NHL action, with 10 games taking place. One of them features two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference—the Canadiens and the Senators. The Canadiens are returning home after a four-game road trip, on which they went 1-2-1, to host the game. Let's dive in.

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Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens Prediction

The Senators (25-37-6) have picked up some momentum of late, going 3-1-1 over their last five. They have improved their play since early March by consistently matching or beating their opponents in terms of chance generation. Ottawa has lost star defenseman Thomas Chabot for the season, but it hasn't deterred them from continuing to plug away and grind out points. They'll seek their third straight win here against Montreal.

The Canadiens (19-39-11) sit in last place in the East with just 49 points, a spot that they've earned through a combination of poor play and many injuries. They squeaked out a 5-4 shootout win over the powerhouse Lightning in their last outing but probably deserved to lose. The fact that Montreal is at home for this game will provide little solace—they are 10-19-4 at the Bell Centre this season.

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The best-case scenario for the Senators is that Anton Forsberg starts this game. He has saved 8.2 goals above expected this season, which ranks ahead of starters such as Robin Lehner, Jack Campbell, and others. Jake Allen, who has allowed 0.4 more goals than expected, will likely start for the Canadiens. In terms of goaltending, the arrow will point in Ottawa's direction as long as Forsberg gets the nod.

The Senators are also a much better team at even strength. They have a 5v5 expected goals share of 47.42%, which ranks 21st in the NHL. The Canadiens have a share of just 44.52%, second-worst in the league. Both teams are below average in this category, meaning that they tend to give up more chances—quantity and/or quality—than they generate for themselves. However, this is more true for Montreal than Ottawa, as evidenced by their lower xGF%.

Finally, Ottawa has significantly better special teams. Their power play ranks 23rd in the league with a conversion rate of 18.9%; Montreal trails in 31st with a strike rate of just 13.4%. The Senators also have a much better penalty kill. Their unit ranks 13th with a kill rate of 80.8%, while the Canadiens' kill ranks 28th by virtue of killing off just 74.4% of their penalties.

The Senators should be favored more than they currently are. They are the better team in all phases (5v5, special teams, goaltending), and are in better form. I'm willing to take them down to -125 on the moneyline. Fading the Canadiens has worked well this season, and hopefully, that trend will continue to hold true.

Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick

Pick: Senators ML (-115) (Bet $115 to Win $100)

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Article Author


Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.


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