Ottawa Senators (41-25-9) at Minnesota Wild (44-24-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday March 30, 2017, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -160 / Ottawa Senators +144 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Ottawa Senators look for a statement victory on the road against the Minnesota Wild as both teams jockey for position in the playoff picture.
The Senators look to keep their Atlantic division title hopes intact as they head into Minnesota to take on the slumping Wild who have played their way out of top spot in the Central and are backing their way into the Western Conference playoffs. The Sens are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games but are four points behind the Canadiens for top spot in the division and while they do still hold a game in hand on the Habs they only have seven games left in the regular season and need to turn things up a bit and hope the Canadiens stumble if they’re going to claim home ice. Ottawa comes into tonight’s game with the worst offense among teams currently in a playoff position and if they’re going to make a playoff run they are going to have to find someone who can step up and score goals or else their stint in the Eastern Conference could be very abrupt.
The Wild meanwhile come into tonight’s game with a playoff spot already intact and a sizable seven point lead on the Nashville Predators for second in the Central division but they have played their worst stretch of hockey over the last two weeks and they are a disappointing 1-7-2 in their last 10 games. At this rate it looks like the Wild will match up with the Predators or Blues in the first round and with the way those two teams have been playing of late as they have been vying for a playoff berth for weeks now, it could be a frustrating finish for a team that has been one of the league’s best teams since October. Alex Stalock is expected to get the start as he will face off against Craig Anderson in a goaltending matchup that favours the visitors.
The Senators are 4-1 in their last five against the Western Conference and 2-6 in their last eight overall while the Wild are 9-2 in their last 11 against the Atlantic and 1-5 in their last six home games. This is becoming dangerous territory for Minnesota and while they are too good to be losing at this rate the fact remains that this one means more to the Sens and I think they get it done at a great price.