Senators vs. Thrashers Preview

ottawa senators vs atlanta thrashers nhl preview nhl odds nhl betting information

OTTAWA, Ont. (AP) - Despite an impressive surge over the last month, the Ottawa Senators were eliminated from playoff contention just after their most recent game.

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The Atlanta Thrashers appear to be on their way to joining them.

The Thrashers hope to extend their fading postseason hopes Sunday when they host a Senators team seeking a fifth win in six games.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Thrashers -140 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Thrashers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 55% of more than 98 bets for this game have been placed on the Thrashers -140.

Atlanta (31-31-12) was tied for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot on Feb. 12, but has gone 6-9-2 since to fall well off the pace. Making matters even worse for the Thrashers, who have only one playoff appearance in their first 10 seasons, a difficult schedule looms.

After this contest, Atlanta embarks on a five-game road trip, which begins with visits to Montreal, Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia and Northeast-leading Boston.

The Thrashers played well against NHL-best Vancouver on Friday, but the Canucks capitalized on two goals in span of about seven minutes in the second period to hand Atlanta a 3-1 loss.

"We had some good speed and had some good tempo, but that one lull," coach Craig Ramsay said. "That's hurt us a lot."

Atlanta's offense has been struggling mightily, scoring two goals or fewer in four of its last five games.

That could spell trouble against an Ottawa team that has been receiving solid goaltending from Craig Anderson and Curtis McElhinney.

Anderson made 31 saves in Friday's 2-0 win over Southeast-leading Washington for his second shutout since being acquired from Colorado on Feb. 18. He is 8-4-0 with a 1.84 goals-against average with the Senators (29-37-9), including a 42-save performance in a 3-1 win in Atlanta on March 3.

"I think for me it's just a matter of keeping the team in the game, giving them an opportunity to stay in the game and win it," said Anderson, who has won both of his starts since signing a four-year, $12.75 million contract extension Monday.

Anderson has won his last three starts over the Thrashers, and is 5-1-1 with a 2.26 GAA in seven career starts against them.

McElhinney, claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on Feb. 28, has also been solid in net for Ottawa, going 3-1-0 with a 1.98 GAA in four starts.

Anderson and McElhinney have helped the Senators to 11 wins in their last 17 games after the team won only nine of its previous 41. That brutal stretch essentially knocked Ottawa out of playoff contention, something that finally became official with Buffalo's win over Florida on Friday.

Although the Senators will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years, they haven't quit.

"Once the trade deadline passed, I think everyone started relaxing and realized this was going to be the team that was going to be playing for the rest of the season, and everyone just started enjoying it," said rookie Colin Greening, who scored his fourth goal Friday.

Greening scored his first NHL goal in Atlanta earlier this month, while Bobby Butler and Nick Foligno also scored for the Senators, who are 2-0-1 in the season's first three meetings with the Thrashers.

Atlanta's Chris Mason stopped 24 shots in that game and has recorded a 3.49 GAA in losing his last four starts to Ottawa.

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