Pittsburgh Penguins (27-10-1) at Ottawa Senators (14-17-7)
|Date & Time||Monday December 23, 2013, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Ottawa Senators +129 / Pittsburgh Penguins -142 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Penguins and Senators renew hostilities in Ottawa on Monday night as both teams wrap up the unofficial first half of the season at the Canadian Tire Center.
The Penguins continue to be the class of the Eastern Conference as they have raced out to a commanding division lead that is far and away the biggest gap of any division in the NHL. Sidney Crosby continues to assert himself as the game’s best player as he leads the NHL in scoring and will certainly be in the mix for the Art Ross and Hart Trophies again this season, especially if he can maintain his health. Pittsburgh heads into Ottawa in what is developing into one of the more ferocious and underrated rivalries in the league as these teams seem to hate each other. A large part of this hatred stems from the Matt Cooke-Erik Karlsson incident from last season in which Cooke’s controversial hit left the Sens defenseman with a severed Achilles and while Karlsson was able to return in time for the postseason the incident is still fresh in the minds of Sens fans. Marc Andre Fleury gets the call in goal for Ottawa as he goes up against Craig Anderson for the Sens.
Ottawa has had a very tough start to the season as they can’t seem to find the same magic that had them as a dark horse in each of the past two years. The loss of Daniel Alfredsson from a mental and physical standpoint has been taxing on players and fans alike and while they have done their best to fill that void with the likes of Bobby Ryan, who has been brilliant, it just doesn’t seem like the same atmosphere without him. The Sens will look to snap Pittsburgh’s seven game winning streak but they know it won’t be easy especially with both teams taking a few days off for the holidays after tonight’s contest so the Penguins will be giving maximum effort. This could be a ridiculously off track hunch but for some reason I like this spot for Ottawa as they are hosting a bitter rival and will put all of their futility aside for one night and I think the Sens get the best of the Penguins here. This isn’t one I’ll be throwing a lot on but I think Ottawa is more than worth a look here.