Montreal & Tampa Bay are 2 of the better teams in the East. That means Monday’s showdown could end up being a playoff series preview. The Lightning are big favorites on the NHL odds in this one.
The Montreal Canadiens Can Win Because…
The Canadiens have fallen on hard times which is why NHL betting odds opened them as a road dog for tonight's clash. Sure, they’ve only lost two straight but the losses haven’t been that pretty. They lost 3-2 in a shootout at Boston, giving a lackadaisical effort, and then came home and were shockingly upset by the Winnipeg Jets. Goal scoring has been a bit of an issue for them of late as they’ve managed just four goals in their last three games. That’s a huge drop-off considering they are one of the league’s best teams in that category, averaging 3.20 per game. Part of the challenge is that Ondrej Palat is out for the Lightning. That’ll make Montreal’s job that much easier as he has eight points in his last seven against them.
While the Canadiens may have slumped this month, don’t put the blame on Price. He’s posted a healthy .934 save percentage this month and allowed two goals or less in 14 of his last 16. If the Habs can net a couple of goals, they should be in good shape. Look for Price to lead the way on Monday and give his team a good chance to win.
The Tampa Bay Lightning Can Win Because…
They’ve owned Montreal this season. Since getting swept out of the playoffs by the Habs last playoffs, Tampa Bay has been very focused in their meetings with Montreal. They’ve won all three meetings with Montreal, outscoring them by the count of 12-3. Habs goaltender Carey Price has a 3.40 GAA in three games versus Tampa Bay this season, which is his worst against any Eastern Conference opponent.
On the flipside, Ben Bishop has thrived against the Habs. He was injured for that series in the postseason but still has a 0.99 GAA against Montreal this season and is 6-0-1 with a 0.96 GAA in his last seven against them.
Montreal is coming off a win but in general, has endured their worst stretch of hockey this season. In the month of March, they’ve dropped five of seven while scoring just 11 goals in the process.
Tampa Bay always gets up for these games and you can expect the same in this spot. Take the Lightning with your NHL picks.
These teams met on March 10th with Tampa Bay outlasting Montreal 1-0. I’m expecting a similar result in this one. Bishop plays well against the Canadiens and while Price has struggled against Tampa Bay, he should be better in this spot – especially with no Palat.
Six of Montreal’s last eight games have seen less than five goals while the Lightning haven’t topped that number in three straight. I’ll look for those trends to continue as we get an under here.
Free NHL Pick: Under 5 at Bodog