Canadiens' Tough Defense Makes 'Under' Our NHL Pick Against Ducks

Dana Lane

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 5:11 PM GMT

The Canadiens are playing much better as of late but it's probably too little, too late as they face the Ducks who are the hottest team in the league. See my NHL pick on today's game.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Montreal Canadiens
There is little doubt that the Anaheim Ducks are the hottest team in the NHL right now but they still have not impressed me enough to put them in the top ten of my power rankings. I still can't put a team that's ranked 28th in total goals scored ahead of teams that are more balanced.  A team that completely relies on defense to carry them to a win is team that provides half the battle when looking to bet the 'under'. You have another advantage built in 'under' advantage because the Montreal Canadiens are a below average power play team, converting on only 17.9% of their opportunities.

I've been pretty critical of Montreal GM, Marc Bergevin, and his handling of the back-up goaltender situation after the Carey Price injury.  The Canadiens should have been better prepared to respond to his injury rather than having two back-ups that should be in the American Hockey League. Bergevin has made it clear that the rest of this year would be used for evaluation. 

Mike Condon has progressed into a serviceable net minder for the Habs.  In his last five starts, Condon is 3-1-1 with a 2.52 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Condon's save percentage is good enough to win games but his goals against still needs to improve but Condon's play of late gives you a reasonable shot when looking to bet an 'under' on the NHL odds boards

Anaheim was active at the trade deadline bringing in Brandon Pirri from Florida and Jamie McGinn from Buffalo while trading away Patrick Maroon and Tim Jackman. That many trades will disrupt some team chemistry for a while. McGinn will play his first game tonight while Pirri is at least ten days away, recovering from an ankle injury. 

 

The Canadiens Preview
The Canadiens were less active from the standpoint of adding scoring but there is no mistaking that they were focused on getting tougher. The claimed Mike Brown, 5-11/205, off waivers and then traded for Stefan Matteau (6-2, 220) who was a former first round draft pick. Matteau played Monday. Brown has 751 penalty minutes in 394 NHL games. 

Frederik Andersen is the listed goaltender for the Ducks. Andersen is 10-0-2 in his last 12 starts with a 1.81 goals against average as a starter in 2016. 

We see early money coming in on the 'over' which is typical when the last time bettors saw Montreal play was against San Jose when there was a total of eight total goals scored while the Ducks and Kings managed six goals, good for another 'over'. Wait this out because you'll get a better number on the 'under' as the day progresses. 

Every trend points to the 'over'; that would be my NHL pick, but keep in mind that four out of their last five meetings have gone under the total and that's the side we're on tonight instead.

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Free NHL Pick: Under 5.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline