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Wednesday Night Hockey Preview: Battle of Ontario leads 14-game slate

It's the last edition of Wednesday Night Hockey for 2023, and the NHL has graced its fans with 14 games on the calendar. 

We will be previewing the three nationally televised games in the United States on TNT and in Canada on Sportsnet - the Battle of Ontario, Bruins vs. Sabres, and the night cap of Seattle at Calgary.

Jump ahead here:

Let's look at each game and make some picks!

Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs odds

OTT Senators+140 ML
TOR Maple Leafs-165 ML
Total GoalsO/U 7.0

Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs information

WhereScotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
When7 PM ET, Wednesday, December 27
How to watchSportsnet

Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs prediction

For the third time this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face off against their provincial rival, the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs are 1-1-0 this season, and 7-3-0 in their last ten games against the Sens. They're clearly the better team on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it's going to lead to a guaranteed win. 

The Leafs are 23rd in regulation and overtime wins and are 25th in the NHL in time spent with a lead. They don't like to make their lives easy this season. 

However, the Leafs do have game-breaking talent. Auston Matthews has 18 points in his last nine games. He leads the NHL in goals with 28 in 30 games. William Nylander has 17 points in his last 10 games and is 4th in NHL scoring. 

It's been a terrible season in Ottawa. The breakout Sens fans were hoping for hasn't happened yet. Ottawa is dead last in the Atlantic Division and are tied for 30th in the overall standings. 

The Sens fired their head coach, DJ Smith, and replaced him with intern head coach Jacques Martin. Since that move was made Ottawa is 1-2-0. But they got their first win with Martin behind the bench on December 23rd in a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

I have a feeling that this game is going to be close. Toronto hasn't been as good as their record has shown, and Ottawa is starting to gain some confidence under their new head coach. I'll pick the Leafs to win a close game in OT or a shootout.

Robert Munnich's picks:

Money Line: TOR Maple Leafs -165

Tied after Regulation: Yes +350

Boston Bruins @ Buffalo Sabres odds

BOS Bruins-140 ML
BUF Sabres+120 ML
Total GoalsO/U 6.0

Boston Bruins @ Buffalo Sabres information

WhereKeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY 
When7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, December 27
How to watchSportsnet+

Boston Bruins @ Buffalo Sabres prediction

The only game on TNT features the Bruins in Buffalo to take on the Sabres. 

The Bruins are playing some of their worst hockey in the last two seasons. They head into Buffalo having lost four games in a row and six of their last eight. They're having a hard time scoring goals and getting production out of their top players. Brad Marchand has five points in his last eight games. Jake DeBrusk has one point. David Pastrnak has eight. It's just not good enough for a Bruins team that has been so good for so long.

Good news for Boston is that Charlie McAvoy and Pavel Zacha are back in the Bruins lineup after missing more than a week with injuries. The Bruins have also dominated the Sabres in head-to-head play. Boston is 8-1-1 in their last ten games against Buffalo, outscoring them 44-16.

Buffalo is struggling to win games this season. Once again, the Sabres are near the bottom of the Atlantic Division and NHL standings. A big reason for that is their lack of ability to keep pucks out of their net. They've given up 120 goals, tied for fourth most in the NHL, and their team save percentage is 5th worst in the NHL.

They are also not getting the production they need from their top players. Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens, in particular, have struggled to produce that the levels the Sabres need them to.

The history between these two teams is lopsided. Buffalo has shown few signs of being able to keep up with the Bruins. Because of that, I'm picking Boston to win.

Robert Munnich's picks:

Money Line: BOS Bruins -140

Anytime Goalscorer: David Pastrnak -115

Seattle Kraken @ Calgary Flames odds

SEA Kraken+125 ML
CAL Flames-150 ML
Total GoalsO/U 6.0

Seattle Kraken @ Calgary Flames information

WhereScotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
When9:30 PM ET, Wednesday, December 27
How to watchSportsnet 360

Seattle Kraken @ Calgary Flames prediction

To cap off the night we have a battle of two mediocre teams in the Western Conference.

The Calgary Flames have been playing decent hockey since starting their season 2-7-1. The Flames are 12-8-4 in their last 24 games, which is the 16th best record in the NHL in points percentage. They just finished a 15-game stretch against some of the best teams in the NHL and went 7-6-2. They're in the mushy middle.

The Flames are getting some solid production out of the likes of Nazem Kadri, Connor Zary, Yegor Sharangovich and Blake Coleman, which is great. But guys like Jonathan Huberdeau, Andrew Mangiapane, and Dillon Dube are all struggling mightily to score which is really hurting the Flames' ability to win games.

Seattle has had a similar season. They've come back down to earth after shooting the lights out last season. Their top scorer is Vince Dunn, a defenseman with 28 points in 35 games. The Flames and Kraken are similar teams. They both don't have any star players and rely on goal scoring by committee.

There are three things that separate these two teams for Wednesday night’s game. 

First is health. The Flames are essentially 100% healthy. The Kraken are missing Jaden Schwartz, Phillipp Grubauer, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. The Flames have a goaltender who is on fire over his last two starts in Jacob Markstrom. Lastly, the Flames have dominated this head-to- head matchup. They are 8-1-0 in their last nine games against the Kraken.

Because of all that, I'm picking the Flames to win.

Robert Munnich's picks:

Money Line: CAL Flames -150

Anytime Goalscorer: Nazem Kadri +225

Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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