Free NHL Picks: Back Talented Canadiens +108 vs. Avalanche

Dana Lane

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 2:39 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 2:39 PM UTC

The Colorado Avalanche (29-26-4 62pts) may have the better record of the two but my power rankings indicate that Montreal (27-26-4 58 pts) is the better team and the better NHL pick. 

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NHL Pick: Canadiens +108
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Canadiens vs. Avalanche
Before the Montreal Canadiens started thier brief road trip they were feeling pretty good about themselves. Tthey had won three straight games at home and looked as if they might overcome the loss of goaltender, Carey Price. Unfortunatey, they've been brought back to reality with back to back road losses in Buffalo and Arizona. The Canadiens should be settled in from their cross contry flight to Phoenix and focused on salvaging one game of the trip. I expect a far better effort than the 12 goals allowed display that has preceeded tonight's affair. 

Montreal's, P.K. Subban, 11 points in his last 9 games, said they if the team can look themselves in the mirror and still say they are playing their best hockey then they are in trouble, sentiment backed by Lars Eller. In other words, Subban and Eller thinks there are some that aren't giving their best effort every night.

There should always be a little extra motivation when visiting Denver where former Montreal goaltender, Patrick Roy, is the Head Coach.  Roy is going to mix his top line up a bit by placing Matt Duchene at center to skate with Jerome Iginla and Mikhail Grigorenko. Roy has been trying to find the right line combinations to generate more offense. Grigorenko and Duchene played with Nathan Mackinnon recently. This is more of an effort to get Duchene going. He has only 1 point in his last four games. The last 20 games have been horrible for the Avalanche so Roy is trying every combination to see if there is a spark.  

Colorado has lost three straight at home and have lost three of their last four against the Habs.

Expect Ben Scrivens to be back in goal for the Habs after allowing three goals on eight shots, Friday, in Buffalo. Prior to the Sabres game Scrivens had a three game winning streak. In four career starts versus Colorado he's 1-1-2 but a respectable 2.18 goals against average. It's amazing to me how unprepared Montreal was in case Carey Price went down. Both Scrivens and Mike Condon are not ready to be NHL goaltenders. This Montreal organizational depth is thin at goaltender. 

Avalanche goaltender, Seymon Varlamov, hasn't been a pillar of success either. He too was pulled in Sunday's game against Buffalo after he allowed 2 goals on five shots in just under five minutes. Varlomov doesn't have great technique or puck handling skills which makes him shaky and unreliable to bettors. 

I think Roy may start to feel a little heat on his job soon considering they didnt make the playoffs last year and it doesn't appear they will this season. Their inability to beat bad teams at home should be unacceptabe to General Manager, Joe Sakic, who was a teammate of Roy's. The Avalanche has lost 7 of their last 9 games at home versus teams with losing home records. The Avs's are also a 2-7 strecth when playing on two days rest.

If Montreal losses this one, I would question how much desire they will have the rest of the season. We're backing Montreal with our NHL picks in this one, where they are favorites in the NHL odds boards.

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