NHL Best Bets: Dallas Stars at Ottawa Senators

Dallas looks for a second-straight win Sunday vs. a desperate Senators team that hasn’t won at home against the Stars since 2008

The Dallas Stars are in Ottawa Sunday to take on a Senators team that is desperately fighting to stay relevant in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Ottawa edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Saturday night, gaining two points on the 8th place Penguins who squandered a chance during a matinee with the Flames. The Sens come into the day five points back of Pittsburgh but tonight’s task won’t be an easy one.

Dallas is only 2-5-2 in its past nine game but managed to snap a four-game losing streak Friday with a 4-2 win over the Devils. At 18-10-6, the Stars are one of the league’s top road teams this year and NHL oddsmakers have listed them as -160 moneyline faves with a total set at 5.5 OV -125. Following today’s game, the Stars will shuttle to Montreal for a Tuesday affair with the Habs.

Patrick Sharp (lower body) is out of the lineup for Dallas, who are 7-1 in their past eight against the Sens including three-straight wins at what is now the Canadian Tire Centre. Faves in this range that have dominated their opponent are 100-40 SU according to SDQL database history but when we focus on non-conference matchups, there is a noticeable dropoff in scoring.

Ottawa is playing their third game in four days, a situation that’s been tough for them the past few seasons (2-8 SU), and when home on zero rest off a road game they are just 1-7 SU but they might be catching the Stars in a good spot. Dallas knows they can win in this building but HC Lindy Ruff won’t allow his team to get cocky. Ruff is all too familiar with this opponent from his 15 years with the Buffalo Sabres and overconfidence in Ottawa can cost even the best of teams. Look for them to try and control the tempo, keep things to the outside and limit Ottawa’s scoring opportunities while securing at least a point. If the Stars do win this game they’ll be even more dangerous in Montreal but given the team’s recent struggles, we’re not expecting the same type of fireworks as their latest visit, a 6-3 win on Jan. 29, 2015.

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The travel and ‘rest’ situations here favor Dallas but the Sens are the hungrier team. Andrew Hammond was solid during last night’s win over the Leafs, making 41 saves, and although it’s a tall work order he could be back between the pipes for a second-straight night while Craig Anderson is sidelined. Either goalie is a decent option for the Stars and at plus money, I suggest taking advantage of the lofty total.

Pick: Take the Stars and Senators UNDER 5.5 goals (+105) ***Best Bet***

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