|NHL Betting Preview: Philadelphia at Ottawa|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Sunday, 07 January 2007 04:57|
Despite Injuries and a High Price Bettors Still Favor Senators
64% of Bets Placed on Ottawa -270 | Matchup | Goalies
The last-place Flyers will try to record their first win this season without Forsberg when they face the undermanned Senators on Sunday at Scotiabank Place.
Oddsmakers have made Ottawa -270 money line (NHL Odds)
favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 6 total goals (View NHL Sports Books).
It comes as no surprise that Philadelphia (11-26-4) has struggled without Forsberg, their best player who is currently sidelined with a right groin injury. The Flyers, however, have yet to win at all this season without the oft-injured center, going 0-11-3 in the 14 games he has missed due to various ailments.
That trend continued Saturday as Philadelphia went scoreless on six power-play opportunities in a 4-3 loss at Boston. Sami Kapanen scored twice for the league-worst Flyers, who dropped to 3-3 on an eight-game road trip.
"Our power play had a good opportunity to get us going, but I just thought our execution even getting up the ice was not at the level it needed to be to have success," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "When we did get it in, we didn't come up with enough loose pucks."
Forsberg's absence isn't the only reason why Philadelphia is likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993-94. A lack of production from several other players also has played a role.
Center Jeff Carter missed more than a month with an ankle injury and has been limited to three goals in 20 games. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen contributed 13 goals in 2005-06, but has yet to score in 37 games this season.
Left wing Kyle Calder was acquired from Chicago in the offseason to add offense, but has only five goals after scoring a career-high 26 last season.
Ottawa (22-19-2) has played well despite missing injured forwards Jason Spezza - their second-leading scorer - Mike Fisher and Antoine Vermette. The Senators had won five of six games and had points in a season-high six straight contests before a 3-2 loss Saturday to Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey.
Patrick Eaves and Tom Preissing scored for Ottawa, which outshot the Devils 35-29.
"(Martin Brodeur) was on top of his game," Eaves said. "They played the typical hockey that they're known to play. We just came up a little bit short."
Fisher and Spezza definitely will not play Sunday, while Vermette is also likely out.
Vermette, fifth on the team with 23 points, tested his hip injury Friday at practice, but left shortly after getting onto the ice. He is more likely to return Tuesday against Boston.
With Ray Emery making his sixth consecutive start Saturday, backup Martin Gerber could get the nod Sunday. Gerber hasn't played since he made 26 saves in a 6-3 victory at Philadelphia on Dec. 23.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has three goals and three assists in his last three games against the Flyers.
Ottawa has won both meetings between the teams this season and three of the last four matchups against Philadelphia.
by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us
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