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NHL Monday best bets: Panthers to show their claws in Ottawa

Eliot J. Schechter / National Hockey League / Getty

We have an unusually busy six-game slate to look forward to Monday night. Let's look at the best way to attack it with a pair of best bets.

Panthers (-135) @ Senators (+115)

The bottom is falling out from beneath the Senators. As the schedule has toughened up, they've shown their true colors and dropped out of the playoff race.

They've played eight consecutive games against teams that are either holding down a playoff spot or sitting just outside the picture. Six of those eight games resulted in defeat, with one of the wins coming via a Dylan Ferguson goalie steal on a night they were outshot by 28. Not good!

Ottawa ranks last in attempts, expected goals, and high-danger chances allowed per 60 minutes during this eight-game stretch. The Senators are playing truly horrific hockey.

Without any of their top goaltenders available, the Senators can't rely on netminding to help mask these issues. The loss of Jakob Chychrun on defense doesn't help matters either.

I expect the Senators' struggles to continue Monday night against the Panthers, who are playing some of their best hockey of the year, outshooting teams by double digits (on average) over the past 10 games.

With a playoff spot just three points away and the schedule about to get easier, the Panthers know it's now or never. Florida has to start stringing together wins, and a date with this version of the Senators is a good place to start.

Ottawa is bleeding shots and lacks stable goaltending. That's not a recipe for success against a high-powered Panthers side that generates shots, and scoring chances, as efficiently as any team in the league.

Led by Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov, and Carter Verhaeghe, look for Florida's offense to overwhelm the Senators en route to a crucial two points.

Bet: Panthers (-135)

Kraken (+110) @ Wild (-130)

This line doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. The last time these two sides met, the Wild closed as -120 favorites. Although that game was played in Seattle, Kirill Kaprizov happened to be available.

Call me crazy, but if the Wild are priced as -120 favorites with Kaprizov, I don't think they should be -130 without him. Home ice isn't worth that much, especially against this Kraken team.

The Kraken have enjoyed great success on the road all season long and are 6-0-1 away from home in March, having picked up wins against the Avalanche and the Stars. I don't think they should be priced so generously against a Wild team missing its best skater by far.

Seattle also deserves more credit in its own right. The Kraken have posted a 56% expected goals share at five-on-five over the past 10 games, which is one of the highest outputs in the NHL. For comparison, the Wild are a little below 50% during the same span and rank 18th.

While Minnesota does possess an edge between the pipes, the Kraken have played better at five-on-five of late and the Wild are bleeding goals on the penalty kill.

The Kraken have a path to a solid offensive night, which could put a low-scoring Wild team that's missing its top producer in a tough spot.

Bet: Kraken (+110)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

NHL Monday best bets: Panthers to show their claws in Ottawa
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