Canadiens at Penguins Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/26/2013
The last time these teams met was March 2. The Penguins won 7-6 in an overtime game that goes down as one of the craziest games played all season. Pittsburgh hasn’t lost since. That’s a 12-game winning streak — enough to vault them past these Canadiens and into first place in the conference and just a point behind Chicago for the overall lead in the league. They have won three games in overtime, eight games by a single goal, and they have beaten Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia two times each. By any measure it has been impressive. Now the team that started the winning streak will look to end it.
Montreal hasn’t been as hot as the Penguins — no one has — but with six wins and an overtime loss in their last eight they are hardly playing bad hockey. That makes this game about as good as one can get right now. The two top teams in the East. The expected top team against the surprise power. The legendary franchise against the team trying to build a new legacy. This is a great one.
Canadiens at Penguins Betting storylines
The Penguins are going to be welcoming some new faces into the lineup for this one. The moves they have made are all proof that while this team is very good right now they still want to get better. In other words, they are desperate to win the Cup. They added Brenden Morrow from the Stars on the weekend, and then they bolstered their defensive corps with Douglas Murray from the Sharks on Monday. They didn’t give up any roster players in either deal, so they are just looking to add and improve. Morrow will have to find chemistry with new teammates after playing for eons in Dallas. He has played with James Neal in the past and with Sidney Crosby at the Olympics, so he will be comfortable. He has also long been the captain in Dallas, so he has the respect of players around him. His impact won’t necessarily be immediate, but it will be significant on this team. Murray is a nice addition as well, and he will be able to competently eat minutes on the blue line.
The last meeting between these squads was an offensive shootout, but lately both squads have been particularly effective defensively. Montreal hasn’t allowed more than three goals in their last eight games, and they are averaging just two goals a game allowed over that stretch. Pittsburgh has been even better. A team that struggled defensively earlier in the year has allowed just nine goals in their last eight games, and they haven’t allowed more than two goals in any of those games. Their offensive production actually hasn’t been as high recently as it can be, but it really doesn’t have to be when the defense is still stout. In other circumstances the relative offensive struggles — 2.7 goals per game over their last seven for a team that leads the NHL with 3.5 goals a game on the season — would be a concern. It’s hard to be too concerned about this team given their talent and winning streak, though.
The Penguins will still be without two key pieces in this one. Evgeni Malkin is on the injured reserve with an upper-body injury. He’s expected to be back in action soon, but he won’t be ready for this one. Defenseman Kris Letang has missed the last three games and isn’t likely to be ready here. They have been winning without both despite the fact that they are both key pieces — they are 8-0 without Malkin, and he’s the reigning MVP — so it would be easy to overstate the impact of these injuries. Montreal is dealing with a few key injuries of their own, but nothing that is a major concern.
Canadiens at Penguins NHL Odds and Betting Trends
The Habs are 5-0 in their last five road games. The “under” is 6-0-1 in Pittsburgh’s last seven games. Montreal has just one win in the last five games against the Penguins. Five of the last seven games played between these teams in Pittsburgh have gone under the total.
Canadiens at Penguins Picks and Betting Predictions
There are two plays I like here. Pittsburgh is at a hefty price, but they are playing so well — especially at home — that they are still somewhat attractive. Also attractive is the under. With both teams playing well defensively and with Pittsburgh facing offensive changes thanks to the addition of Morrow, there is a decent chance it’s not going to be an explosive offensive effort.
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