Play the 'Total' for Rangers vs. Canadiens Game 1

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, May 17, 2014 11:27 AM GMT

Heading into this weekend, our resident NHL betting odds guru was a terrific 17-7 with his last 24 NHL playoffs free picks. Today he’s honed in on the total for his sports pick in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals between New York and Montreal.

No time to Get Tired at this Stage
The Canadians host the Rangers on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with the opening face-off slated for 1:05 PM ET. The game will be televised nationally in the United States on the NBC Sports Network. This will be the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals. Both teams come off dramatic Game 7 wins over long time division rivals in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. According to NHL betting odds the Canadians are a -120 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.0. These teams haven’t seen any of their previous 9 meetings go over the total. The Canadians are 9-1 in their last 10 home games versus the Rangers.

[gameodds]7/291194/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

World Class Goaltending Matchup
This series will feature a pair of the best goaltenders in the world. The Rangers Henrik Lundquist is having another stellar season, which has included being the anchor of Team Sweden silver medal winning effort in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The Canadians Carey Price is amid his best season of his career so far. Besides a stellar regular season and playoffs to this point, Price was the #1 goalie for Team Canada which captured gold in Sochi, and was named MVP of that prestigious tournament.


Rangers Grinded Out Consecutive 7-Game Series Wins
The Rangers were pushed to the entire 7-games in each of their 2014 playoff series so far. The series wins over the Flyers and the Penguins each had their own unique path to success. The Rangers never trailed in their Conference Quarterfinal series win versus the Flyers, and advanced with a win on home ice in the deciding Game 7. The win over the Penguins in the Conference Semifinals saw the Rangers overcome a 3-1 series deficit, and was culminated by winning Game 7 on the road.


Overcoming Lack of Rest
“The Blue Shirts” also needed a response to the adversity surrounding some unfavorable scheduling which was cast their way. They played Games 6 and 7 against Philadelphia on consecutive nights, then after just 1-day off, began the Penguins series by playing 3-games in 4-days. Putting things into perspective, from Game 6 of their opening round series, to Game 3 of their previous series, the Rangers had played 5-games in 7-days. That plight is absolutely unheard of in the modern Stanley Cup Playoff era. Despite those issues, the Rangers found a way to hang in there, and knock off the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference to advance. They’ve been one of the better road teams in the NHL this season, including going 27-13 in their last 40 away contests.


Montreal Canadians are back in the NHL Spotlight
The Canadians have had an impressive 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff run on their way to advancing to the Conference Finals. They swept the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 in their opening round series, and then went on to defeat their bitter rival, and the #1 seeded Boston Bruins in 7-games. By doing so, Montreal overcame series deficits of 2-1 and 3-2. They were also able to defeat the Bruins twice at the TD Garden in Boston which was an accomplishment in of itself. This is a Montreal team that appears to have peaked at the right time. Not only have they gone 8-3 so far in the postseason, but they finished the regular season by going 11-4 in their last 15-games.


NHL Betting System
Any home team with a total of 5.0 or less that’s coming off a road win against a division opponent, versus a team coming off a road 1-goal win, has seen 31 of those 39-games (79.5%) go under the total during the last 18 seasons.

Free Pick: Rangers/Canadians to go under the total of 5.0