The Montreal Canadiens appear to be back on track after a mini slump to start the month of March. We’ll find out more on Saturday when the San Jose Sharks come for a visit. The Canadiens find themselves as a sizable favorite on the NHL betting lines.
The San Jose Sharks Can Win Because…
They have played very well in this series. The Sharks have won three straight meetings between the teams, outscoring the Canadiens 10-0 in those contests. That includes a 4-0 win at home to Montreal on March 2nd. While Carey Price has played like a Vezina and Hart Trophy candidate this season, he actually hasn’t fared too well against the Sharks in his career. He has registered just one win in six starts against San Jose while posting a 3.15 GAA.
The Sharks are fighting for their playoff lives these days and they have played pretty well in the month of March. They have won five of eight, which is pretty decent by their standards – especially when you consider that they had lost eight of 10 before that.
While the Canadiens will have home-ice advantage in this one, it might not be as big of an edge as you might think. The Sharks are just 17-21 at home this season compared to 18-15 on the road. The issue has mostly been their offense as they’re eighth in goals per game on the road and just 20th when they’re at home. Those are some of the reasons why you should consider the Sharks with your NHL picks.
The Montreal Canadiens Can Win Because…
They’re the better team in almost every way. The Canadiens have 97 points, which ties them for the most in the NHL. San Jose is 21 points worse than them. More so than that, the Sharks have looked like a disjointed team throughout most of the season that knows they aren’t going anywhere. As for the Canadiens, they are led by an MVP goaltender who is surrounded by a stellar cast.
Price is pretty hard to beat at home as he’s 22-7-3 at the Bell Centre with a 1.86 GAA and a .937 save percentage. He’ll be up against Antti Niemi, who has been fairly inconsistent since the All-Star break. He has a 2.65 GAA since then.
The Canadiens allow just 2.08 goals per game at home, which is the third-best number in the NHL. They’ve also won 23 of their 36 home games this season, which shows that they are tough to beat at home. Don’t expect the Sharks to be too competitive on the road on the opposite coast.
All signs point to a Canadiens win here as they’re clearly the better team. They’re also 16-3 on Saturdays this season, which is an interesting stat to note. However, I’m going to go with the under on the NHL odds. The under is 12-4 this season after the Canadiens scored four or more in their previous game and it’s gone under in six of the team’s last seven games overall. I’m going to stick with that and expect a low-scoring, Habs win.
NHL Pick: Under 5 at The Greek