Our resident NHL professional handicapper analyzes the opening game of the playoff series between Ottawa and Montreal set to begin on Wednesday. Read his insightful betting preview article pertaining to this contest that concludes with a money line selection.
Opening Game in Battle of Canada Eastern Playoff Series
The Montreal Canadiens will host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday at 7:05 in the opening game of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. According to the NHL odds at Heritage, Montreal is a -138 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. Ottawa has won three of the four games played between these Atlantic Division rivals during the regular season.
The Ottawa Senators enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs having gone a sizzling hot 21-6 versus the money line in their final twenty-seven regular season games. They were sparked by the outstanding play of rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond who went 20-3 in twenty-three starts during that stretch, and compiled a superb .941 save percentage in doing so. It remains to be seen if Hammond will be able to perform at that high level with the added pressure of playoff hockey. Putting things into perspective, Hammond was with the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League up right up until the second week of February before being called up to the big club.
Montreal back on Track entering Postseason
The Montreal Canadians went into a bit of a funk in the latter part of the regular season, but rebounded to win their final three games. They’ll likely be without their leading goal scorer Max Pacioretty for the opening game of the series. The 37-goal scorer has been recovering from a concussion, and is expected to return in this opening round series. The Canadiens always can hang their hats on all world goaltender Cary Price. All Price has done this season is go 44-22 in sixty-six starts with a stellar .933 save percentage. This will be only the third game in ten days for Montreal. They’ve gone a perfect 8-0 this season when playing in only their third game in the last ten days, and held those eight opponents to a paltry 1.1 goals per contest.
NHL Money Line Betting System
Montreal is coming off a win at division rival Toronto in their regular season finale. The Ottawa Senators closed the regular season with road wins versus the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers in their final two games. The combination of those three results qualifies for an extremely profitable money line betting system, and I’m not willing to ignore that handicapping aspect when making one of my NHL picks on Wednesday.
Any money line favorite (Montreal) coming off a win versus a team from within their own division, and they’re facing an opponent (Ottawa) coming off two or more road wins in a row, has seen that favorite go 41-8 (83.7%) during the last five seasons. The favorite also held a large +1.7 goal per game differential in those forty-nine contests.
NHL Pick: Play Montreal -138 on the money line over Ottawa at Heritage.