NHL Picks: Stars Have the Edge Over Poor Canadiens Offense

Bruce Webster

Saturday, December 19, 2015 5:43 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 5:43 PM GMT

The Montreal Canadiens come in off a 3-0 home shutout loss to the Los Angeles Kings while Dallas Stars are off a rather shocking 3-1 home loss. Who will be our NHL pick tonight?

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NHL Pick: Stars -150
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Canadiens Continue to Wonder Where the Offense Went
The Montreal Canadiens got off to a quick start this year and have been a top five offensive team for much of the year, but recently that offense has disappeared. Montreal comes in off a tough 3-0 home shutout loss to the LA Kings, in a game that they got off 45 shots in. They just couldn’t put any of those shots in the goal. The Canadiens have now scored just one goal in their last two games and just 15 goals in their last nine games. That is a far cry from the 3.0 gpg that they have averaged this year, which is 3rd in the league. The Canadiens are a very average team on the power play, converting 19.5% of their chances, which is 13th.

Taking the loss in the game vs the Kings was Mike Condon, who has now lost his last four starts in a row. Condon is 9-9 o the year with a 2.21 GAA overall, while on the road he has gone  4-2 with a 2.21 GAA. This will be his first ever meeting with the Dallas Stars. The Canadiens have been a solid defensive squad this year as they come in allowing just 2.3 gpg, which is 4th in the league, but even that has taken a hit of late as they have allowed three goals in six of their last sevens. Montreal has been strong on the penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on just 13.1% of their chances, which is 3rd in the league.

 

Stars Get Upended at Home by Calgary
The Dallas Stars come in with the best record in the NHL, but on Thursday night they ran into the hottest team in the league right now (Calgary) and walked out with a 3-1 loss. Calgary has now won seven in a row, while Dallas has gone a mediocre 4-4 in their last eight games. The shocking part was that the Dallas high scoring offense never got going vs the Flames’ worst ranked defense in the league. The Stars come in ranked 1st in the league in goals scored (3.3 gpg) and first in the league in shots per game (32.3 spg) and while they did put up 36 shots vs the Flames, all they could muster on a goal by Johnny Oduya (4th), which actually gave Dallas a 1-0 lead in the game.

Taking the loss was Kari Kehtonen, which was just his 2nd loss on the year. Lehtonen is now 11-2 with a 2.54 GAA overall, while at home he has gone 4-2 with a rather high 3.14 GAA, plus he has gone 8-8 with a 2.54 GAA in his career vs the Habs. Defense is not really the forte of the Stars as they come in ranked 16th in the league in goals allowed, giving up 2.6 gpg, while allowing teams to convert on 20.4 percent of their power play chances, which is 20th in the league.  This is a team that may find itself in trouble if that offense disappears like it did for the Canadiens.

Trends
Montreal is:

1-4 in their last five when their opponent scores two goals or less in their previous game

1-5 in their last six after scoring two goals or less in their previous game

Dallas is:

21-5 in their last 26 vs. the Eastern Conference

5-1 in their last six games playing on one day’s rest

 

Betting Analysis
The Canadiens are in trouble right now as their offense has disappeared and Mr. Condon has lost the groove he was in at the start of the year. The Stars come in off a rather embarrassing home loss to the Flames and will be out for blood in this one. Dallas has beat up on the Eastern Conference and they also have had good success in this series of late, which should all continue here as they bounce back from their loss to the Flames. Take Stars as the NHL pick tonight.

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