NHL Hockey: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers

From an entertainment standpoint, Monday’s matchup between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden isn’t exactly ‘must see TV’. The Senators have the worst record in the NHL at 3-8-1 for 7 points. The New York Rangers aren’t doing much better at 5-5-1 for 11 points which is the fourth worst point total in the Eastern Conference. Since NHL betting odds perpetually overvalue the Rangers, however, it does give us a decent opportunity for value.

The Ottawa Senators were expected to be bad this season and they haven’t disappointed. At least they’re taking steps to address the issue. They finished in last place overall in 2018-2019 and after that management began to clean house. They brought in former Toronto assistant DJ Smith as the new head coach and they eliminated a number of higher priced contracts to focus on developing a decent core of young prospects including Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, Colin White and Connor Brown (who came over in the deal that sent defenseman Codi Ceci to the Maple Leafs). They’re in the early stages of a difficult rebuilding project but there’s a different vibe around the team when the lineup ‘goes young’ as opposed to giving playing time to malingering veterans.

The Rangers are also in a rebuilding mode though whenever the team strings a couple of wins together the New York media overreacts and anoints them as a legit contender to win the East. They’ve got some nice offensive talent but still need work on the defense. As Henrik Lundqvist moves into his late 30s goaltending is also in transition. Lundqvist is expected to get the start here though this season he’s been splitting time with talented Russian netminder Alexandar Georgiev. Gorgiev has put up better numbers with a 3-2-1 record, a 2.27 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. Lundqvist is 2-3-0 with a 3.58 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.

Goaltending is also an issue with the Senators and for now they really don’t have a good plan for the future. Craig Anderson and Anders Nilsson have split time in net with neither being particularly effective. Anderson is expected to go here and he’s 2-5-0 with a 3.09 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. From a statistical standpoint, there’s not much difference between these teams. Senators are #23 in scoring defense allowing 3.42 goals per game while the Rangers are #20 giving up 3.27 goals per game. New York is showing the more potent offense and are #13 in goals scored per game at 3.18 while Ottawa is #25 with 2.58 per.

Neither team is much to write home about and that brings us to the betting value. The only reason that the Rangers are a -178 chalk in this game is the name on the front of their sweater and the market that they play in. In terms of talent, these teams aren’t that far apart. We’ll take the price on the Senators and look for the game to go ‘Under’ the total. Six of the last 7 head to head including 3 straight in New York have failed to exceed the total.


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