When Deciding on NHL Picks for Canadiens vs. Bruins, Best Bet Depends on Montreal's Goaltenders: Carey Price vs. Dustin Tokarski

David Lawrence

Sunday, February 8, 2015 1:02 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 1:02 PM GMT

The Montreal Canadiens have been a far better bet than the Boston Bruins all season long, but before playing the Money Line on the Habs, keep in mind that the goaltender could sway the odds.

The Montreal Canadiens Can Win Because…
They own the Bruins. Whether the Bruins are playing well – as they are now – or whether they are slumping, one thing remains consistent: they struggle against Montreal. The Habs have their number as they have won 13 of the last 18 meetings between the teams including seven of the last nine in Boston. They are a very profitable +8.9 units in that span. The issue is goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has just three wins in 18 career regular season meetings with Montreal. He has a 2.81 GAA against them, which is pretty bad when you consider that he has a 2.15 goals against average in his career. At the other end of the ice, Canadiens netminder Carey Price has been fantastic against Boston, winning 20 of 31 regular season meetings while posting a respectable .921 save percentage.

The Habs are coming off a win on Saturday night and that makes it their sixth in eight games. On the whole, they’re playing quite well. If Price is in net, they’re the better choice for your NHL picks here.

 

The Boston Bruins Can Win Because…
They’re playing their best hockey of the season. The Bruins have won nine of their last 12 games, which is pretty good considering they had won just six of their 19 games before that. They’ve been getting some great goaltending from Rask, who has been on absolute fire since the start of the New Year. Rask has a sparking 1.67 GAA in his last 13 games and the Bruins – as a team – have the league’s best goals-against mark in that span (1.64). It’s hard to beat any team when they’re giving up so few goals.

The Bruins have been hard to beat at home lately as they’ve won five of six in front of the home audience. That figures to be a factor as both teams are in a back-to-back. The Canadiens will have to travel but the Bruins played at home on Saturday afternoon, so the no-rest situation should affect them less.

Montreal is coming off a win but has dropped two of their last three overall. Compared to how the Bruins are playing right now, they should have a clear edge in this spot. Expect them to come away with the win on Sunday.

 

Outlook
It’s an interesting setup here as both teams are on the back end of a back-to-back situation. It’s worth mentioning that the Habs are just 4-7 in the second half of a back-to-back set while the Bruins are 2-7. Montreal has won all three regular season meetings with the Bruins this season and when you include the last two wins in their playoff series, they’ve now won five straight in the series.

While the Habs look like a decent play, keep an eye on the goaltending situation. If Price is in net, take the Habs. If it’s backup Dustin Tokarski, the better choice is the over as both sides will be doing some scoring.

NHL Hockey Pick: Canadiens or Over

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