Our NHL consultant breaks down the upcoming playoff series between Ottawa and Montreal. Take the time to read this extremely insightful betting preview article that culminates with a money line series selection.
“Oh Canada” Rivalry in Eastern Quarterfinals
The Atlantic Division champion Montreal Canadiens will face the red-hot Ottawa Senators in an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series set to begin on Wednesday. The first two games of the series will be played at the Bell Centre in Montreal, and then the teams will travel to the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa for games 3 and 4. According to the NHL odds at Bookmaker, Montreal is a -170 moneyline favorite to win the series, and Ottawa is posted at +140.
Head to Head Meetings
These division rivals met four times during the regular season, and Ottawa won three of those encounters. As a matter of fact, the Senators won each of the last three versus the Canadiens, and outscored them by a decisive cumulative margin of 13-5 in doing so.
Ottawa goaltender Andrew Hammond has been nothing short of sensational since being called up from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton. All Hammond has done since that time is go 20-3, posted an excellent 1.79 GAA, compiled a superb .941 save percentage, and had three shutouts. What’s been even more impressive was his off the charts .966 save percentage in twelve starts on the road. Hammond started in twenty-three of the last twenty-seven regular season games for Ottawa, and that includes each of the final seven. In case the youngster happens to succumb to the pressure, the Senators have a reliable veteran in Craig Anderson waiting in the wings. Although Anderson went just 14-21 in thirty-five starts this season, he possessed a more than respectable .923 save percentage in those outings.
Barring an injury or something unforeseen, Montreal will ride Carey Price for the duration of their playoff run. Price has proven to be one of the premier goaltenders in the world the past two years. The Canadiens top goaltender has gone a stellar 44-22 in sixty-six starts this season, posted a fabulous 1.96 GAA, and had nine shutout wins. He’ll be looking to rebound from a less than impressive finish to the regular season, which saw him have a less than average .882 save percentage in his last four starts.
The Ottawa Senators improbable Stanley Cup Playoffs run was fueled by going 21-6 to finish the regular season. Before that torrid stretch it looked highly unlikely that the Senators would be playing playoff hockey in April. Ottawa finished seventh overall in the Eastern Conference, and qualified for the playoffs by virtue of earning the top wild card spot.
“Go Habs Go”
The Montreal Canadiens were in a bit of a funk near the end of the regular season which saw them go 6-11 during a seventeen game stretch. However, they finished by winning their last three games. The Canadiens are the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference and were bested only by the New York Rangers.
Obviously by reading the details in this article, you certainly can make a case for the underdog Ottawa Senators to win this series. The early money wagered at Bookmaker has overwhelmingly come in on the Senators. I’m going to be in the minority in that regard. I’ll be favoring the Montreal to advance for one of my NHL picks. Although I don’t think this will be an easy series by any stretch of the imagination for the Canadiens. As a matter of fact, I like this to go a full seven games, and home ice advantage will be the deciding factor.
NHL Pick: Play on Montreal -170 on the moneyline to win the series over Ottawa at Bookmaker.