NHL Picks the 'Over' for Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs

David Lawrence

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 5:01 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 5:01 PM GMT

The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs square off for their sixth consecutive regular season opener. The two rivals usually play close contests but the best choice for your NHL picks might not be a side in this one.

The Montreal Canadiens Can Win Because…
They have the better defense and goaltending. In the NHL, that’s what counts. The Habs have Carey Price between the pipes and he’s about as good as it gets. Last season, he was in the Vezina conversation with a 2.32 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

The Leafs are a bad defensive team as they allowed 3.07 goals per game last season (26th in the NHL) and killed of just 78.4% of their penalties (28th). Although the Habs offense is only in the middle of the pack, the Maple Leafs should make them look good on opening night.

 

The Toronto Maple Leafs Can Win Because…
They are going to be charged up to show how much they’ve improved this offseason. It’s clear that Montreal has the better defense but Toronto has the better offense and home-ice advantage.

This is a game where the Leafs will be measuring them up against a team that made it to the Eastern Conference finals. They’ll want to show that they can compete with the best. With the crowd firing them up, this will be another close contest – just as all of the games are in this rivalry.

Even though the Canadiens went to the Eastern Conference final and the Maple Leafs missed the playoffs, the difference between the teams isn’t that much.

 

Outlook & Pick
The Habs do have the better goaltender but Price’s career 2.73 GAA and .914 save percentage against the Maple Leafs is only average. That means the Leafs should be able to light the lamp a handful of times here. They had seven goals in the two meetings with Price last season. On the flip side, the Maple Lefs gave up more shots per game than any other team in the NHL last season, which means Montreal’s offense should overachieve (only scored 2.55 per game last season).

Over has cashed in four straight meetings between the teams in Toronto and eight of nine overall. Take the over with your NHL picks here.

NHL Pick: Over 5.5 at 5Dimes

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