Postponed from last Monday, the Boston Bruins versus the Ottawa Senators has been tacked on tonight, with the regular season officially ending a day late. A division title is on the line for the Bruins: victory tonight wins them the Northeast ahead of Montreal and would mean they are seeded second for the post-season. Ottawa shouldn't need any extra motivation to beat a team that has well and truly had their number in recent years, but at least a point means they avoid Pittsburgh in the first round. A Bruins overtime victory will see these two pitted against each other again when the play-offs start next week.
Both clubs are coming off tough losses last night and will want to put things right; coaches Paul MacLean and Claude Julien have emphasised heading in to the post-season on the right foot. Boston have shut out their last two opponents at TD Garden whilst Ottawa have three wins in a row on the road.
Defenceman Erik Karlsson made his comeback for the Senators ahead of schedule on Thursday. The Swede had been out since mid-February after suffering a skate cut to his Achilles. That means he's missed all four games with Boston so far in 2013 and getting a player of his calibre back gives Ottawa a much better chance in the play-offs. Karlsson has led the team in shots in both games since his return and is the x-factor for this team because of the offensive threat he provides from the blue line.
These are the East's top two defensive teams, and over those four prior match-ups there's been an average of under four goals scored per game. That suggests there's good value in backing fewer than 4.5 tonight at 2.35.
Boston start as big favourites at 1.85 to Ottawa's 3.70, and with that in mind it always seems worth taking a punt on the upset. The Sens have always come close but never managed to get the win. I still think they can do it. Take Ottawa including overtime at 2.65.
Best Bet: Under 4.5 total goals at 2.35