The Montreal Canadiens need a win tonight to help protect their playoff position, and tonight they seek to do so against the New Jersey Devils.
The Montreal Canadiens are running out of gas as the NHL playoffs approach. They still hold a five-point cushion over the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes but they have lost four of five and are watching their team disintegrate in front of their eyes. They are laboring to score goals right now and they can’t
seem to stop their opponents. That’s an epic failure in the game of hockey. Bet
the New Jersey Devils to take advantage.
Canadiens Can Win Because…:
The Devils have cooled off.
They were on a torrid pace for a long period of time,
reeling off a 22-3-2 stretch starting from January 9th but recently,
their playoff run has lost the wind out of its sails and the Devils have
They’ve won two straight but that’s still just three wins
in their last eight games.
There’s no question that the Canadiens have had a
miserable time playing in New Jersey over the years but the good news is they
have won their last two trips to East Rutherford.
Not much has gone right for the Habs on the offensive end
these days but it does look like their power play has come to life. Even though
they lost 6-2 in their most recent outing, their power play went two-for-three,
which accounting for both of the team’s goals. That ended an 0-for-12 spell for
the Habs, whose power play unit ranks 10th in the NHL.
The New Jersey
Devils Can Win Because…:
Most of their recent woes have come on the road. At home,
they are still winning games at a healthy clip. In their own cozy confines, the
Devils have still won 11 of their last 13 games.
Montreal has been slumping in a major way and they are
supposed to be the team with more to play for. A couple of weeks ago, it looked
like the Habs might be able to win their division but now they are just trying
to hold on to one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens have lost seven of their last 11 games and
they simply can buy a goal these days. In those 11 contests, the Habs have
scored just 25 goals but eight of them came in one win against the Minnesota
Wild. That means they’ve potted just 17 goals in their other 10 games within
that span. More recently, they have just five in their last five games and one
of those was an empty netter.
Compounding the problems has been the fact that All-Star
goaltender Carey Price has been far from that caliber in recent outings. He’s
just 1-5-0 in his last six starts with a 3.86 GAA.
On the season, the Devils have won two of three from
Montreal outscoring them 7-1 in their two wins. Overall, this has been a
completely one-sided series over the last few years as the Devils have won nine
of the last 11 meetings overall. In New Jersey, the Habs have just four wins in
their last 32 visits.
Outlook & NHL
It’s just tough to bet the Canadiens right now. Starting
goaltender Carey Price has been pulled in each of his last three road starts
and he’s really struggling right now. Meanwhile, the defenseman on this team
are really starting to feel the losses of guys like Andrei Markov, Jaroslav
Spacek and Josh Gorges as the players that are healthy are being overworked to
make up for the losses.
On top of that, they are having plenty of problems
scoring and the Devils are one of the worst teams to face when that’s the case.
The under should be a winner here too but in the option of laying juice on the
under or the Devils, we’ll opt for the home team.
The NHL odds boards are siding with the Devils here as well, so this pick should be your best chance to profit off of this match.