The first-round, best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series between the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers has come down to a Thursday night winner-take-all showdown at Madison Square Garden. This Game 7 clash is slated to get underway at 4 p.m. (PT) and will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Series Outlook- Ottawa
Ottawa had a golden opportunity to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the first round of these playoffs, but a second-period meltdown in Game 6 led to a 3-2 loss as a 108 home favorite to force a Game 7 on the road. The Senators have actually blown a few opportunities over the course of this series with a dreadful 12.5 percent conversion rate on the power play and just 12 total goals on 191 shots. Despite some of these numbers, the bottom line is that they have still played well enough to win.
They will now need an even better performance from players such as Jason Spezza (3 goals, 2 assists), Chris Neil (2 goals, 1 assist), and Kyle Turris (1 goal, 2 assists). Each has tallied a game winner in this series and each would love nothing more than to light the final deciding lamp in this one. Another factor will be the play of goalie Craig Anderson. He is another big reason that Ottawa is still hanging around with a goals-against-average of 2.00 and a .933 save percentage through the first six games of this series.
Series Outlook- New York
As a prohibitive favorite to win this series when the NHL odds were first released, New York did not envision it taking so long to get past the first round. Nonetheless, it did what it had to do behind players such as Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle to put itself in prime position to finally advance. The Rangers have really struggled to find the back of the net in this series, but have been able to step it up a notch when they needed to the most.
It also helps to have Henrik Lundqvist in net, who continues to play at a high level game after game. Through the first six games of this series, he picked up right where he left off in the regular season with a 1.82 GAA and a save percentage of .942. New York has been out shot in this series but not out scored primarily because of its goalie.
Series Betting Trends
The Senators are just 4-13 in their last 17 playoff games as road underdogs and 2-5 in their last seven playoff games as underdogs of +110 to +150. The total has gone OVER in five of their last eight playoff games as underdogs.
The Rangers are just 4-10 in their last 14 first-round playoff games, but 13-6 in their last 19 games as favorites of -151 to -200. The total has gone OVER in six of their last 10 playoff games as favourites.
Head-to-head, the underdog has gone 12-4 in the last 16 meetings, and the road team is 21-7 in the last 28 games. Ottawa is 23-7 in its last 30 games in New York with the total staying UNDER in 21 of those games.
There are some pretty strong trends in the Senators’ favor in this matchup, but none reflect the drama of playing a Game 7 in the playoffs on the road. Come Thursday night, look for New York to remind everyone of the fact that it finished the regular season as the top team in the East.
The Free NHL Pick: New York 4 Ottawa 2