NHL: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens Series Odds and Predictions
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 4/13/2010
Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens Series Odds
In most sports No. 1 seeds have an easy path to the second round. That is not the case in the NHL where No. 1 seeds have gone down many times in the first bracket. However, none of those top seeds had the talent or firepower of the Washington Capitals, the President’s Trophy winner with 121 points.
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The Canadiens have actually held their own against Washington in their four meetings this year. They split the season series with the Caps, even forcing them to a shootout in one of their losses. So, technically, Montreal left their four games with Washington with a 2-1-1- record.
The series starts Thursday night in our nation’s capital and the Capitals are heavy favorites at -265 in the first game. The line is no surprise considering how Washington has been able to dominate at home, finishing the regular season with a 30-5-6 record at the Verizon Center.
One thing history tells us is that the Capitals have been unable to put teams away. They were pushed to Game 7 twice last year and both times they had home-ice advantage. They defeated the Rangers in Game 7 before losing to the Penguins in Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Two years ago they lost in Game 7 of the first round to the Flyers.
It’s hard to say that Montreal did anything but back into these playoffs. They have lost five out of their last seven and are 3-8 since March 20. Montreal is also the only team in the playoffs with a negative goal differential, having been outscored by six overall this season.
There is still reason to believe that Montreal could extend this thing longer than many expect. The main reason has nothing to do with them. The Capitals with Alexander Ovechkin have only won one playoff series in four years.
Their firepower is hard to ignore, though. They scored 318 goals this season and to put that in perspective Montreal has scored exactly 101 less. What will keep the Canadiens in this series will be the play of goalie Jaroslav Halak. In net he compiled a 26-18 record with five shutouts. Compare that to his backup Carey Price, who is 13-25. Thanks to Halak’s play the Canadiens have the 11th-best goals against average in the league. Couple that with Washington’s inability to put series away and look for Montreal to steal a few home games before bowing out.
Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens Series Predictions
Washington in six games
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