NHL Picks: Bruins vs. Canadiens

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, December 5, 2013 1:06 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 1:06 PM UTC

The Canadiens host the Bruins on Thursday at the Belle Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Who should we back with our free NHL picks in this affair?

According to NHL betting odds the Bruins are a -110 road favorite and the posted total is 5.0. The road team has won 4 of the last 5 meetings between these two clubs.

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Rested and Ready

The Bruins haven’t played a game since last Saturday’s 3-1 win at home versus Columbus. The win marked the 2nd in a row for the Bruins, and they’ve also won 10 of their last 13 overall. Goaltender Chad Johnson received a rare start in the win over Columbus, and stopped 13 of 14 shots on net. Johnson improved his record to 4-1 this season with a 1.97 GAA. Tuukka Rask will be back in goal for the Bruins tonight. The Bruins #1 goaltender’s entire body of work this season has been extremely impressive. In 22 starts Rask has a brilliant 1.90 GAA, and an excellent .935 save percentage. Boston is currently first in the Atlantic Division, and 3-points ahead of the 2nd place Montreal Canadiens. Boston is just 1-point behind Pittsburgh for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have 1-game in hand on Montreal, and 2 on Pittsburgh.

Canadians Catch Fire

Montreal entered last night’s game at New Jersey red-hot having won 6 of their last 7, and 8 of their last 10-games. Unlike tonight’s opponent, the Canadiens have had a very busy itinerary of late. This will be their 3rd game in 4 and their 5th game in 7 days. Tonight will also be the first of a 3-game in 6-day home stand. The Canadiens special teams play has been nothing short of phenomenal this season, as they’re operating at a cumulative 110.1% efficiency rating. Carey Price is scheduled to be in goal for the Habs this evening. Price is enjoying a terrific start to the season. In 12 starts he’s posted an excellent 1.97 GAA and .937 save percentage. Montreal has seen just 7 of their first 28-games this season go over the total.

Final Analysis

There’s no sense in trying to over-analyze this matchup. This is one of those times I’m going to stick to the adage that “styles make fights”. This game will showcase the top two NHL teams this season that allow the fewest goals per game. Each of these teams #1 goaltender is arguably playing the best hockey of their career. This has all the footprints of a low scoring, tight checking, and intense battle. My lean here, for my NHL pick, is toward the under.

NHL Pick: Boston/Montreal to go under the total of 5.0

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