The Carolina Hurricanes (16-15-2, 34 points) need to come up big as they trail the New York Rangers for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by just 1 point. In their way, are a Montreal Canadians (22-7-5, 49 points) team that’s been dominant all season and is looking to keep their lead over Boston in the Northeast Division.
Game-time is set for tonight at 7:30 pm ET at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The NHL odds makers at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists the Canadians as a -185 favorite and the total for the game is 5.5.
Let's breakdown this matchup and decide where bettors can find the best value with their NHL picks.
It’s unconfirmed, but we’ll like see a Peters vs. Price matchup in net.
A major reason why Montreal has had one of the best goal differentials in the NHL is goalie, Carey Price.
Price is 17-6-4 on the season with a 2.28 GAA. He’s coming into this game off of a superb performance against a desperate Rangers team in which he turned away 34 shots on goal en route to a 3-0 Montreal victory.
The Carolina Hurricanes are just 22nd in defense and this could be a problem against a tough Montreal offense. Justin Peters hasn’t gotten the best support offensively, but has held his own in net. He’s coming off of a 3-1 victory over Winnipeg in which he stopped 34 out of 35 shots. This coming after 4 consecutive losses. Peters is no slouch with a 2.86 GAA, but has seemed to turn a corner and must play well to keep Carolina in a game that they are in desperate need of.
Let’s Go Defense!
The defensive position isn’t the first place that a team looks for offense, but along with playing top level defense, P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov have both been very reliable offensively.
Subban leads the team in scoring (27 points), sports the best plus- minus ratio on the team, and is has been hot lately. Subban is coming off of a 3 assist performance against the Rangers and has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last 5 games. He could be a factor here.
Markov has held his own in scoring a point in 4 out of his last 5 games. Along with center, Tomas Plekanec (13 goals, 13 assists), this could be a long night for Justin Peters and the Canes.
Carolina’s defense is sub-par but they have an above average offense, averaging 2.8 goals per game and it starts with center, Eric Staal. Staal combines physicality with the superb offensive tools that he’s been given to lead the Hurricanes with 38 points in just 33 games.
Look for Staal to be a factor along with Alexander Semin. The left winger has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 2 games.
Head to Head Trends
Hurricanes are 3-7 in the last 10 meetings
Under is 12-5 in the last 17 meetings in Montreal
With Price in net, the Hurricanes will need to put the pressure on offensively like they did against Winnipeg. Look for a high scoring affair. Take the OVER.Free NHL Pick- Montreal/Carolina OVER 5.5 at BetOnline