While the Carolina Hurricanes will try to close the gap on Saturday, the Habs should be able to snap out of it with a good effort at home.

The Montreal Canadiens have slipped down the totem pole in the Eastern conference and they are now just one point away from slipping into seventh or four points away from trading places with the eighth-place Carolina Hurricanes. 

The Carolina Hurricanes Can Win Because…:

The Montreal Canadiens have lost their rhythm. The Canadiens have lost seven of their last nine games and they have a losing home record against Carolina going 14-20 in the last 34 meetings, so breaking out of that slump while away is going to be even tougher. 

There has been a lot of pressure on the Hurricanes not to slip up as they are the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference but when you take a look at the standings, they can pull within two points of the Canadiens with a win on Saturday. 

And this is the perfect matchup for the Hurricanes. 

Anyone who has followed Carolina this season can tell you that they win the games they should win and they tend to struggle against elite squads. Well the Habs are in the dumps right now and Carolina is more than capable of taking advantage. 

The Montreal Canadiens Can Win Because…:

Montreal CanadiensThe Carolina Hurricanes will be without their captain and leader, Eric Staal

Staal, who is also the Hurricanes best offensive weapon, was dazed and confused after a hit by Matt Niskanen and he has already been ruled out with injury for Saturday’s contest against Montreal. The Canadiens, who are really struggling right now, can take any break they can get.

The Habs should have Carey Price in net and he has fared well against Carolina. He’s 3-1-0 against them in his last four starts with a GAA of 1.97. He was given a partial day off on Thursday as Alex Auld got the start but Auld was quickly pulled after he gave up three goals.

Considering his numbers against Carolina and Cam Ward’s against Montreal, the Habs should have a big edge in net for this contest. 

Ward has really struggled against the Canadiens this season. He’s 0-2-0 with a GAA of 4.44. Throw in the fact that the Hurricanes have lost eight of their last 10 on the road and four of their last five at the Bell Centre, there’s a good chance the Habs bounce-back on Saturday. 

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction: 

Both teams could really use a win but the Canadiens will feel the urgency a little bit more. They are at home, where they typically play well, and the Hurricanes are on the road, where they have lost eight of their last 10.

The Canadiens have fared well in this series recently at home and when you throw in the fact that Ward hasn’t played well against the Canadiens this year and Price has done well against Carolina in recent contests, today's NHL free pick becomes more evident. 

Side with the NHL odds makers and bet the Canadiens at your favorite sportsbook to win and get back on track.