NHL Picks for Canadiens vs. Penguins

Mike Richardson

Thursday, February 27, 2014 3:03 PM GMT

The Olympic break is over which means that Humble Handicapper can get back to hockey winnings (and so can you!) and what better match to ease us back into our NHL picks than the Pittsburgh Penguins v the Montreal Canadiens?

Pittsburgh head into their toughest stretch of the condensed Olympic schedule now, starting with Montreal. They reopen their 2013-14 season this Thursday at home against the Canadiens. And they then go off on a five-game road trip, starting off at the Stadium Series in Chicago on Saturday. It’s a hectic run and The Pens finish the road trips with visits to Nashville, San Jose, Anaheim and then Washington, it’s back to back Capitals as they take on Washington first in the capital and then at home in Pittsburgh.

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Enough with Pittsburgh’s road issues…WHERE’S THE MONEY MIKE?

Montreal went into the break on three straight regulation wins and after a season-worst four-game skid in late January, the team was 5-1-1 in its past seven games, before they took to the ice against Detroit on Wednesday night.

It was a bad beginning to life after Sochi for Montreal as Gustav Nyquist scored on the rebound with just 28 seconds left in OT to deliver the Red Wings a 2-1 win in the first post-Olympic match for both clubs on Wednesday night.

The basics from the bookies have Montreal winning at +170 and Pittsburgh at -200. It doesn’t make that much difference if you include a draw Pittsburgh at offered up at -133, Montreal are 275 and the draw is +330.

Direct Comparison

Still, looking at the way these two sides compare against each other this season we can see that Montreal have 148 goals this term, while Pittsburgh have 186.I you factor in that the Canadiens have conceded 142 and the Penguins have let in 138, you’ll see that Pittsburgh have the better goal difference +48, compared to +6.

To give us a bit more of a comparison between these two teams you should know that the sportsbooks have Pittsburgh at best hockey odds of +260 to win the Eastern conference and +600 to lift the Stanley Cup (both top spot bookies favourites positions) while Montreal are +2700 (10th favourite) to win the Stanley Cup and +1300 (4th favourite) to win the Eastern Conference.

The Latest NHL Eastern Conference Standings & Trends

Who’s hot in Montreal?

Ahead of Wednesday’s clash P.K. Subban led the Canadiens in points with 39 in 59 games and Max Pacioretty had the team-best 26 goals in 50 games played.

The sportsbooks have Pittsburgh winning by 1 goal at 11/2 and Montreal winning by a single goal at 7/1. The more goals that Montreal win by, the less likely the bookies think it will be. The Canadiens winning by 2 and three goals are both at 9/1. The bookies also have Over 5.5 goals at 23/20 and Under at 8/11.

Your Humble Handicapper reckons that it’s the Penguins who have the form for our NHL picks and the history for this one and they’ll stop Montreal’s comeback (after Detroit) before it even starts.

NHL Pick: Pittsburgh win by 2 goals at best hockey odds of 9/2 with Paddy Power.