There are three games on the opening night of the 2013-14 NHL season and we’ve got them all covered for you. Make sure you check out the Winnipeg-Edmonton preview, which gets it’s own article, and we’ve got shorter rundowns and NHL picks of the other two games below.
The Montreal Canadiens are the favorite on the NHL odds in this spot – likely because they are the home team – but I don’t think they are worth the price. These two teams are rivals and regularly win on the other’s ice, so I think this game should be closer to a PICK or maybe -115 for the Canadiens.
Case and point: the Maple Leafs won their 2013 season opener in Montreal, won both meetings in Montreal last season and have now won four of their last five visits to the Bell Centre.
On the whole, I think these two teams are fairly evenly matched but I hold Toronto in slightly higher esteem than Montreal. Yes, I know that David Clarkson will be suspended for this contest but this is still a very young, confident team right now. They went 5-2-1 in the preseason and finished with 11 points, which was the second-most in the Eastern Conference. The Habs were a pedestrian 3-3-1.
Carey Price has not played great against Toronto recently as he’s 1-4-0 with a 3.86 GAA against the Leafs in his last five starts. Add it all up and I think there’s some good value here with the Leafs. Add them with your sports picks tonight.
Pick: Maple Leafs +120 at Pinnacle
The Chicago Blackhawks had an awesome start to last season, registering at least one point in each of their first 24 games. The Washington Capitals had a brutal start to their lockout-shortened campaign, losing nine of their first 11 games. You can rest assured that both teams will have that on their minds as their start their new seasons on Tuesday night.
The Caps didn’t have a great offseason as they watched second-leading scorer Mike Ribeiro walk via free agency without replacing him. They should be better now that head coach Adam Oates has had a full offseason to work and shape his team, but losing Ribeiro won’t help their scoring depth. As for the Blackhawks, they were stripped the last time they won the Stanley Cup but this time, they managed to keep a lot of their key parts in place. They are far more prepared to repeat than they were last time around.
I’m not prepared to lay -165 with Chicago, although it’s probably justified. Instead, I’m going to look to the under in this game. The Blackhawks allowed the fewest goals in the NHL last season (102) and that combined with the fact that the Caps should be more of defense-oriented team leads me believe the under is the best play in this game.
Pick: Under 5.5 at Bovada