NHL Picks: Divisional Rivalry Between Senators & Canadiens Will Go 'Over' the Total

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, April 16, 2015 2:59 PM GMT

Our in house NHL handicapping professional breaks down Friday’s Game 2 of the playoff series between Ottawa and Montreal. Join us in reading his extremely informative betting preview article, and it’s concluded with a totals selection.

Senators and Canadiens Game 2
The Montreal Canadiens will play host to the Ottawa Senators on Friday at 7:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at Pinnacle, Montreal is a -135 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0.This will be Game 2 of their best of seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in which Montreal holds a 1-0 lead, virtue of a 4-3 win on Wednesday in the opening game of the series. These Atlantic Division rivals have seen just one of their last nine meetings stay under the total, and that includes none of the previous six played at the Belle Center in Montreal.

 

Hammond looks Human in Game 1
Much hype was made before the start of this series regarding rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators, and justifiably so. After all, since being called up from the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League in February, he went an outstanding 20-3 in twenty-three regular season starts. However, starting in goal for your first career Stanley Cup Playoff game, and having to do so in Montreal, would be similar to a local Catholic priest conducting mass at the Vatican in Rome. Although Hammond’s performance was far from terrible on Wednesday, the Canadiens were able to expose some flaws. It was just the second time in his twenty-four starts that Hammond allowed four goals or more in a game. It will be very interesting to see if he bounces back with one of his vintage performances, Senators fans have become so accustomed to during the last two months.

Check out the Canadiens/Senators Series Price Futures

Canadiens regaining their Scoring Touch
Montreal really struggled to score goals with any kind of regularity during a thirteen game stretch in March. However, they’ve seemed to resolve that issue recently. The Canadiens have now scored four goals or more in each in each of their last four games, and tallied three or more times in seven of the previous eight contests. As a matter of fact, Montreal hasn’t seen any of their last ten games stay under the total. They’ve also failed to go under the total in each of their previous nine games versus Atlantic Division opponents.

 

Final Analysis
I found the opening game of this series to be the most entertaining of the four played on Wednesday. Both teams had a willingness to play a more wide open style for much of the game, and as a result there were plenty of quality scoring chances. They say that styles makes fights, and the high scoring games between these divisional rivals the last two seasons has been no fluke in regards to that boxing analogy. One of my NHL picks on Friday will be a reflection of just that.

NHL Picks: Ottawa and Montreal to go over the total of 5.0 at Pinnacle.