Montreal Canadiens (40-28-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (41-26-7)
NHL Hockey: Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 7pm (PNC Arena)
Line and Odds: -1.5–Over/Under: 170
NHL Picks and Parlays Carolina Hurricanes vs. Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens have played well this season and their performance has earned them 87 points along with the 2nd Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. If they stay consistent, the Canadiens will hold onto their position and make the playoffs. This is easier said than done as the Columbus Blue Jackets are only three points away from catching the Canadiens and claiming the 2nd Wild Card spot. Because the Blue Jackets are so close to the Canadiens, the Canadiens have to maintain their good level of play and enter each game with a renewed intensity. Recently, the Canadiens have been doing just that as they come into today’s game against the Hurricanes on a three-game winning streak including an impressive 4-0 shutout against the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens and Hurricanes matchup is particularly interesting because the Hurricanes have the number one seed in the Wild Card, right in front of the Canadiens. In fact, the Hurricanes have 89 points, only two points in front of the Canadiens. Today’s game will be a big determinant in who ultimately claims the 1st Wild Card spot, the fight for this one spot alone can have major implications for who both of these teams would play in the playoffs. In order for the Canadiens to secure victory, they are going to have to play up to their 12th ranked scoring defense as well as maintain their high level of scoring like they’ve done over the last three games of the season.
The Hurricanes performances have been relatively shaky over the last five games. They have 3 wins and 2 losses, but their losses have been bad as they have lost by three goals in these games. The Hurricanes have to keep playing at a high level to stay where they are. Both the Canadiens and Blue Jackets are hungry and looking for opportunities to bolster their chances of making the playoffs as well as improve their positioning in the playoff race. Perhaps last night’s 5-1 thrashing of the Minnesota Wild provided the Hurricanes the energy and focus they needed to regroup as a team. At least, that is what the Hurricanes had better hope or else their playoff life will be in jeopardy.
On paper, the Hurricanes are a much better team than the Canadiens on both sides of the puck especially on defense. The Hurricanes rank 8th in goals against and 8th in penalty kill percentage. Going against a team in the Canadiens who have a mediocre offense, the Hurricanes should be able to frustrate the Canadiens’ offense. However, like it was previously stated, the Canadiens have been playing out of their minds offensively lately so the Hurricanes’ defense may have a tougher challenge than the statistics indicate. Offensively this season, the Hurricanes are slightly better on average but not much better than the Canadiens. With both teams having good defenses, but average offenses this game may be a low scoring affair that will be determined by the defense that has a stronger showing.
NHL Betting Trends:
Montreal is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
Montreal is 4-8 SU in its last 12 games on the road
Montreal is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Carolina
Carolina is 13-5 SU in its last 18 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Carolina’s last 7 games at home
Carolina is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Montreal
Free NHL Expert Picks Montreal Canadiens vs. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes will win this game. Although the Canadiens have been on an offensive tear recently, I do not think that they will be able to sustain this offensive output for much longer. Also, I think tonight’s game is a statement game for the Carolina Hurricanes where they will be able to send a message to the Montreal Canadiens that the 1st Wild Card spot is theirs to keep.
PICK: Carolina Hurricanes -1.5