Monday, April 13, 2015

NHL Playoffs 2015: Senators Vs Canadiens Prediction

Ottawa Senators Vs Montreal Canadiens

Market Watch

The Canadiens opened as -160 favorites for this series, and I'm confused as to why.  That equates to a 61.5% chance, and sorry, but that's just too high. Very little separates these teams beyond home ice advantage and playoff experience, and it's far closer to a coin flip than the odds suggest.

Bottom Line

Why pick the Sens? Start with the fact that they are a 49% score-adjusted puck possession team this year, which is tied with Montreal, and they've been above 50% since Cameron has taken over as coach. On special teams they are 6th in PP FF/60 compared to Montreal at 26th, and Hammond has an even better PK SV% than Price (both metrics are better predictors of future special teams success than actual conversion rates).

The Habs also have questions with two of their most important forwards, Pacioretty and Galchenyuk. The former is coming off a concussion and the latter hasn't provided the kind of secondary scoring the team needs.

Is Ottawa out of gas? Are they just happy to be here? Will Hammond fall back to earth? Can the kids like Zibanejad, Stone, and Hoffman keep up their production? All legitimate concerns, but at the current price, the only option for this series is the underdog.

Pick: Senators ML (+142)

All first round series predictions