Free NHL Picks: Canadiens at Bruins Odds
by George Monroy - 1/29/2014
The Boston Bruins have been dominant on the defensive end behind the excellent goaltending of Tuukka Rask. Boston allows the second-fewest goals in the entire NHL with only 2.2 per game and is back atop the Atlantic Division after starting 2014 by winning eight of its first 12 matchups. The defending Eastern Conference champions are slowly starting to separate themselves from the rest of the division and lead the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning by four points in the standings.
The Montreal Canadiens fell into a mini slump during the middle of January where the team lost six of eight and dropped four straight games in a seven-day period. Montreal was able to put an end to its skid with a solid win over Carolina on Tuesday and will head into a favorable stretch of its schedule when it plays four straight home games. The team, however, must first hit the road to play Boston on Thursday night. Let’s take a closer look at the matchup with predictions and analysis.
Canadiens at Bruins Betting Story Lines
Rask, Boston’s starting goaltender, has been brilliant over his last five games—actually, the six-year veteran has played great all year, allowing only 2.07 goals per game with a .930 save percentage—and has stopped 136 shot attempts and allowed only nine goals. The Bruins are on a four-game winning streak and still have three more games to play in its four-game homestand.
Boston is coming off a four-goal blowout of the Florida Panthers on Tuesday where the team scored six goals on a whopping 41 shot attempts. The game was essentially over after the Bruins jumped out to a three-goal lead minutes into the second period. Milan Lucic scored two goals for Boston during the matchup, and he helped the team reach the six-goal mark for the third straight game.
Montreal’s starting goaltender, Carey Price, has given up 17 goals during his last five games on an average of only 27 shots attempts per game. Price has lost four of his last five starts and is struggling to keep Montreal competitive in front of the net. The team is sitting on 61 points in the standings and fighting for the fifth spot in the East, but it can’t afford to go on extended losing streaks this late in the season. The gap between the fifth and eighth playoff positions in the Eastern Conference is only four points.
Outside of its recent losing streak, Montreal has been a solid defensive team and allows only 2.5 goals per game, which is ranked, 11th in the league. The team’s real issue has been on the offensive end, where it averages only 2.4 goals per game. The Canadiens struggled to keep up with the elite teams in the NHL that can score as well as play solid defense. Montreal’s point’s leader, P.K. Subban, has scored only 38 points through 53 games this season.
Canadiens at Bruins NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Boston opened as a -173 favorite over the +157 underdog Canadiens at BetOnline. The total was set a five goals, with the “over” being favored at -116. Boston is 4-0 in its last four overall matchups and in the third game of a three-in-four situation. The team is 17-7 in its last 24 Thursday games and has gone over in 10 of its last three games following a win.
Montreal is 1-4 over its last five road games and last five overall games. The team is 0-5 during its recent matchups following a win and 0-4 after allowing two goals or less in its previous matchup. Montreal has also gone over in seven of its last 10 games played on one day of rest. Head-to-head, Montreal is 4-0 over the last four overall meetings.
Free NHL Picks: Canadiens at Bruins Predictions
The Bruins have been on an offensive tear without sacrificing anything on the defensive end, and it is wishful thinking to believe that it will come to an end on Thursday night against the Canadiens. Boston’s excellent play has started with its defense and goaltending, which should be on full display against a Canadiens team that has struggled to score goals all season. The Bruins are at home, on a four-game winning streak, and, most importantly, playing with confidence. Take Boston on the moneyline.
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