Canadiens & Capitals could very well end up meeting in the first round of the playoffs, so this meeting could be a preview of what’s to come. Tonight Montreal is favored on the NHL betting lines.
The Washington Capitals Can Win Because…
The Canadiens are slumping right now. Montreal has dropped three of four and is having some issues in net. Although Carey Price is one of the best in the business and the Habs are among the best defensive teams, they’ve allowed 15 goals in their last four outings. That’s a bit of a concern.
As for the Caps, they are at the opposite end of the momentum spectrum. They’ve won two straight and six of their last eight. Goaltender Braden Holtby has been strong in the month of March, giving up 29 goals in 14 outings, which boils down to 2.07 goals per game. That’s fairly solid. He really shines against the Canadiens as he’s won five of seven career outings against them (the only two losses came after regulation). His 0.97 GAA and .964 save percentage are his second-best against any single opponent. On the flipside, Price doesn’t play too well against the Capitals, winning just five of 17 starts while posting a 3.04 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
The Caps have a good chance to pull this one out, which is why they are listed as favorites for tonight's clash on NHL odds.
The Montreal Canadiens Can Win Because…
They’ve won both meetings this season as the tide has seemingly turned. Yes, Price hasn’t played too well against Washington in his career but it looks like things have changed a bit this season. In his only meeting with the Caps this season, Price shut out the Capitals. As a matter of fact, they’ve held Washington to just one goal in two meetings this season.
Price did get blitzed for four goals against Tampa Bay on Monday but he’s shown a strong propensity for bouncing back this season. Since December 1st, he’s allowed four goals or more just four times but each time, he’s followed it up with an outing where he’s allowed two or less. History shows there a good chance he rebounds on Thursday.
The Habs have lost three of four but those were all tough situations: Nashville on the road, a hot Winnipeg team on the road, home to a Tampa Bay team that’s had their number this season…hosting Washington should be much more manageable. Look for the Canadiens to get back on track.
Expect a playoff-like atmosphere in this one as the two teams know what’s at stake: they could be entrenched in a seven-game playoff series very shortly. I’m going to stay away from the side and focus on the total as under looks like the right way to go. In two matchups this season, we’ve seen just four goals combined between the teams. Add in the fact that Holtby plays well against the Canadiens and Price should bounce back, and we should see a low scoring game here. Take the under with your NHL picks.
Free NHL Pick: Under 5 at The Greek