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The Ottawa Senators (1-2-1) will travel to Bell MTS Place to take on the Winnipeg Jets (3-1-0) on Saturday night to face off for the third time this season. These teams just played a pair of games against each other in Ottawa where the Jets pulled off a 4-3 overtime victory with a Nikolaj Ehlers goal to win the first game of the season series on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Jets exploded with three goals in the second period to win 4-1 over the Senators. Ottawa is currently last in the North Division with three points and Winnipeg is sitting tied for the North Division lead with six points.
These teams have a lot of familiarity with one another and is expected to be a fun, high-scoring game. Let’s take a look at both of these teams and decide where we feel the most comfortable placing our wagers.
Defenseman Deserve Love
With rookie Tim Stutzle missing time due to an undisclosed injury, it has forced other players to try and step up in his absence. One player who has been doing well is defenseman Nikita Zaitsev who has a team-high five points (zero goals, five assists) this season and has recorded at least one assist in each of the team’s first four games this season. He isn’t shooting the puck much as he has only registered three shots on goal. In his last game against the Jets, he finished with an assist and a shot on goal in 21:38 on the ice. The Senators have been a middle-of-the-road offense and need to apply pressure on the Jets if they want to pick up a win here.
Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit have both started games inside of the net this season for the Winnipeg Jets. Hellebuyck started this last game against the Senators and had a solid win as he allowed a goal in 29 shots, including two power play saves. The goal was in garbage time as it was with less than three minutes left in the game and they were winning 4-0 at the time. Hellebuyck has a 2-1-0 record this season and allowed six goals on 92 shots (.935 save percentage) and looks like he is getting back on track. The Jets will not allow many shot attempts on Hellebuyck and make sure they have a comfortable lead like they did in their previous matchup.
Tied for the League Lead
Winnipeg is dealing with the injury bug so far as four players are dealing with an injury that has either ruled them out already or has the potential to. With all the talent dealing with injury, left winger Kyle Connor has stepped up and been a monster on the ice. The 2015 first round pick is tied for the league-lead with seven points (three goals, four assists) this season and has recorded at one point in all four games this season. In his last game against the Senators, he finished with a pair of assists and two shots on goal in 18:36 on the ice. In the two games against Ottawa so far this season, Connor has a goal and two assists on six shots on goal. He has been extremely productive and one of the main reasons why the Jets are where they are to begin the season.
It seems Ottawa has a bit of controversy in the goal this season as Matt Murray was pulled to begin the third period for Marcus Hogberg. Murray has allowed 3.79 goals per game this season (14 goals in four games) and when Hogberg was in goal for the third period, he did not allow a goal on three shots. It’ll be interesting to see where the Senators decide to go, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Hogberg plays in the net. The 14 goals given up is the 18th most in the league so far this season and Winnipeg isn’t scoring many goals this season (13). Hogberg has played in 29 games throughout his three-year career and has a .901 save percentage and allows 3.21 goals per game so the numbers indicate neither goalie is expected to be that much of a difference maker.
Winnipeg:47-22 in their last 69 games vs a team with a sub-.400 winning percentage
Winnipeg: 7-2 in their last 9 home games
Ottawa: 0-6 in their last 6 games following a home loss of 3+ goals
Ottawa: 11-41 in their last 52 road games
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Winnipeg Jets should be able to control this game similar to what they did in their last game against the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa has been brutal on the road and has trouble bouncing back after losing by at least three goals the previous game. Winnipeg has Kyle Connor, who will be a huge factor in this game and put up some numbers. The Jets are solid at home and defeat teams with a subpar losing record. Go with the Winnipeg Jets on the puck line in this game.
Winnipeg Jets -128
Full-Game Total Pick
This number is going to be set too high due to the question marks in goal for the Senators but it won’t matter as either one will provide the same level of production. These two teams just played and finished with five goals total and I expect something similar to that line. The under has hit in four of the last five games in the second game of a home-and-home situation while it also hit in five of the last six games for the Jets playing on 1 days rest. Go with the UNDER here as these teams have played twice already and know what to expect out of the other.