Ottawa Senators (37-26-12) at Detroit Red Wings (40-23-12)
|Date & Time||Tuesday March 31, 2015, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Detroit Red Wings -150 / Ottawa Senators +136 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Anyone who follows professional sports knew that the type of run the Ottawa Senators were on was going to come to an end sooner or later.
After Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers, it’s clear that the Senators are back in serious trouble. This is a hockey club that didn’t lose for weeks, but after finally cracking into a playoff position they’ve found themselves losers of three in a row.
If Saturday night’s overtime loss to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs weren’t enough, the Senators found a way to make it worse by putting in a lousy performance on home ice against the team chasing them in the playoff race.
Florida controlled a scoreless first period and used the momentum to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the middle frame.
Erik Karlsson’s 20th goal of the season early in the third period got the Senators to within one goal, but that would be as close as Ottawa would get in the game.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau also added his seventh goal in the season, and Craig Anderson stopped 33 of 36 shots in the loss.
Ottawa now trails the Bruins by three points, but the Senators do have a game in hand. Florida is just four points back of Boston and they also play the Bruins twice before the end of the regular season.
Ottawa was the club with the lead in the race and what looked to be the easiest schedule of the group, but now that they’ve lost three games in a row things have changed. A match up with the Detroit Red Wings looms on Tuesday night, with games against Tampa Bay and Washington to follow. The task now looks daunting for the Senators.
Detroit has been sitting comfortably in a playoff spot for a while now, with a likely match up against the Lightning ready for them in the first round. The Red Wings could still fall into a wild card if the Bruins can overtake them for third in the Atlantic Division.
Detroit has struggled immensely of late, losing seven of their last 10 games and giving up tons of goals in the process.
The biggest question mark for the Red Wings heading into the post season is going to be whether or not they have enough goaltending to make a run. Right now the answer looks like they don’t and Sunday night four goals weren’t enough in a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders.
Jimmy Howard and Peter Mrazek don’t give head coach Mike Babcock a lot of options, but what the Red Wings really need is for one of those guys to get hot at the right time.
This is a tough game to call because both teams have been playing awful of late. Detroit is the better club but Ottawa needs this game more and they’re getting some decent value as a road underdog in this one.