NHL Picks: Bet A More Consistent Canadiens To Win Against Hurricanes

Dana Lane

Sunday, February 7, 2016 3:47 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 3:47 PM GMT

Obviously neither team is in the top ten of my power rankings but Carolina still finds themselves in range of a playoff spot. Montreal seems to be headed in the opposite direction.

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NHL Pick: Canadiens -117
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Hurricanes vs. Canadiens
It seems like Montreal hasn't won since the Price injury but on Saturday the Canadiens dominated the Edmonton Oilers, 5-1 and for now everyone is quiet on Saint Catherine's Street. I've seen before when people have written teams off then they find a spark and get hot. Talent isn't an issue there but Montreal appears to be looking for an identity while the face of the team heals. I did think they moved the puck well against the oliers which is a general indicator of team confidence. 

Some offensive pieces may be coming back to life in this one.  Max Pacioretty, who has been limited to a minus 10 rating over his last seven games, could turn that around if history is any indication. Max has seven goals and five assist over his last eight games vs.Carolina. Montreal has beaten Carolina five straight times at home.  

Carolina goaltender, Cam Ward, is back after missing some time but Montreal hasn't been all that kind to him. Ward is 1-5 with a 3.95 goals against average, and a less than stellar .873 save percentage. Ward, who suffered a concussion, played Friday night and made 33 saves but it's the second game where we see if a returning player has fully returned.

No matter how bad Montreal has been I can't rely on the Hurricanes to provide enough offense.  One of my rules in wagering is never hope a team overachieves.  Take them for what you see, not what you hope them to be.  With that being said, I've seen a stuggling offense (ranked 23rd), They are not very good on special teams whether its the penalty kill or on the power play.  Their power play unit is just 2-25 over their last seven games and their kill are in the middle of the pack. 

When you watch Montreal it's just a matter of working a little bit harder to get quality shots.  They are among the leaders in the league in shots but when you have a goaltender you don't trust or at least not as much as Carey Price, you hesitate to bring defensemen into the play because you want to always make sure you can get back on defense.  I also look at them and wonder who's the tough guy on the team, where does the physical play come from? The Hurricanes are the sofest team in the National Hockey League in my opinion.

Another concern is, yes, the Hurricanes beat Winnipeg Friday, but the manner in which it was done was cause for concern. Carolina scored four first period goals to take a quick 4-0 lead and then appeared to coast to victory instead of playing their game.  The focus from the second period on was to protect the lead instead of lengthening it.  They almost were caught needing a goal with a little over a minute to go to seal the victory.  In fact, those four first period goals were scored in just over ten minutes in so for two and a half periods we watched the 'Canes play scared.

 Cam Ward faced just five first period shots and then 28 over the next two periods.

I try to figure out which teams are in a better mental state or who plays with urgency or passion because that's the key to cashing tickets and right now it's Montreal by far. The NHL odds board show the Canadiens as the favorite at -117. Take Montreal for your NHL picks.

 
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