With Price Between the Pipes Canadiens are the Clear NHL Pick vs. Bruins

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, October 10, 2015 11:54 AM GMT

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 11:54 AM GMT

The Bruins are hoping to shake off an embarrassing defeat to the Jets when they meet their archrivals the Canadiens. Let's analyze this matchup & determine which side to include in our NHL picks.

Bruins Get Thumped
There's a new GM in Boston named Don Sweeney but unfortunately for Boston fans the team's debut resembled last year's disastrous season as the Bruins fell 6-2 to the Winnipeg Jets. Sweeney purged the team of entrenched veterans like Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton in order to essentially gain first round picks. The B's had selections 13,14 and 15 in this year's draft but those chickens won't come home to roost for quite a while. After a season in which Boston missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007 the fans are clamoring for a team that will bring this franchise back to respectability.

Perhaps the only silver lining in their disappointing debut was the fact that David Krejci notched a goal that could shake him out of last season's scoring funk that saw him tally only 31 points in 47 games last season. But the bad news wasn't limited to their lopsided loss to Winnipeg as Zdeno Chara continues to sit with an upper body injury that will preclude him from suiting up for tonight's game as well as an extensive absence by Dennis Seidenberg after surgery to repair a herniated disk. Big voids to fill defensively with those two stalwarts removed from the lineup.

 

Canadiens Burn Leafs
In a league replete with outstanding goaltenders Carey Price stands tall above them all. The reigning Hart and Vezina Trophy winner stopped 36 of 37 Toronto shots and championed his team to a 3-1 victory off a routinely stellar performance. Max Pacioretty lit the lamp on the first shot of the game and added the empty netter to clinch it. P.K. Subban had a hand in all three goals with assists on each one. The Canadiens were pegged by NHL odds makers as -170 favorites on the road in Toronto and they did not disappoint all those who backed the big road favorite.

The big question this season is can the Habs be more than simply the sum of their goaltender? Carey Price can steal games singlehandedly but when Montreal continues to count on that robbery, highway or otherwise, then Montreal could be in for problems. They have a chip-and-chase style that relies on speed and winning small battles rather than controlling the pace and tempo of the game. They were outshot 37-30 in the game against Toronto and once again Montreal comes out the victor because they know their goalie is always better than the one they face.

 

NHL Picks
While the Canadiens' performance over the Leafs wasn't dominating it did demonstrate that Carey Price is still - Carey Price. The All-World netminder will be between the pipes on Saturday night in Boston and his stats, reflective of his team's, against the B's have been impressive recently. Montreal has owned Boston dating back to the final two games of the 2013/2014 Eastern Conference semifinals where they have won six consecutive meetings with Carey Price tending the twine for all six matchups. Price has a 1.17 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage during that period while Max Pacioretty has also gotten into a groove with six goals and four assists in those contests. In addition, the Canadiens have claimed all six regular-season meetings in Boston since the start of the 2012-13 campaign while no other team has won more than three times during that period at Boston Garden.

Unless you were born and bred around Causeway Street with a blind passion for all things Bruins then you have to believe the visitors are the best team to include in your NHL picks. Montreal has owned the Bruins and Boston gave me no reason to believe they have improved over last year's abysmal failure. Veteran netminder Tuukka Rask, universally hailed as among the league's best netminders, looked sluggish in his season debut and owns a 3.40 GAA in his last five starts against Montreal. The choice is clear.

NHL Picks: Play Montreal -113 at Pinnacle

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