After backing into third place in the Atlantic Division standings courtesy of the Toronto Maple Leafs? 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, the Boston Bruins travel to Ottawa on Wednesday to take on the Senators in Game 1 of their first-round series as slim -113 betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Boston finished alongside the Maple Leafs with 95 points in the standings, but the club?s edge over Toronto in regulation and overtime wins this season enabled it to avoid an opening-round series with the league-leading Washington Capitals, setting the stage for Wednesday night?s Bruins vs. Senators Game 1 matchup at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Bruins continued their streaky ways down the stretch, following up a four-game losing streak with six straight wins before closing out with a pair of losses. However, Boston has maintained a solid defense during the final three weeks of the campaign, outscoring opponents by a 22-11 margin over its past eight contests, and has seen the total go under in eight of its last 10 games.
Boston also has played respectable hockey on the road of late, going 7-4-0 in its past 11 games away from TD Garden, and also has won four of its past six as a road betting favorite. That success does not extend to recent dates with the Senators, who are unbeaten in six straight overall against the Bruins, and five straight on home ice.
Ottawa has emerged as one of the surprise stories of the season after missing the playoffs in two of the past three years. Ravaged by injuries late in the campaign, the Senators overcame a 2-5-4 swoon with three straight wins in the final week of the season to lock up second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Senators also got the job done with wins in six of nine overall at home, and have won outright in seven of 12 as home underdogs.
Ottawa has earned three victories over the Bruins since March 6, but despite that recent success, the Senators have just a 35.4 percent chance to win this series, according to the projections at PredictionMachine.com.
And neither Boston nor Ottawa are receiving votes of confidence at the sportsbooks entering this year?s Stanley Cup playoffs. Both the Bruins and the Senators join the Maple Leafs at a distant +1100 on odds to win the Eastern Conference, while Boston is back at +2500 on the odds to win the Stanley Cup with Ottawa at +2800.
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