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NHL Free Pick: Canadiens vs. Ducks Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview

NHL Lines: Montreal vs Anaheim Pick

Two of the top teams in the NHL will clash on Wednesday night when the Montreal Canadiens (41-17-5) visit the Anaheim Ducks (41-17-7). Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks all season so check back in often.

NHL Predictions

Montreal vs Anaheim
When: Wednesday March 4 at 10:00 pm EST
Where: Honda Center
TV: Sportsnet
NHL Gambling Line: Montreal +104/Anaheim -115
NHL Gambling Over Under Line: 5
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As the records of both Montreal and Anaheim indicate, this is a big game between two of the top clubs in the league.

The Ducks had been scuffling for a bit in the absence of goalie Frederik Andersen, but the young netminder is back and the Ducks have put together a tidy little three game winning streak to close the gap on top spot in the league.

The Canadiens are making their trek through California, and didn’t get off to a good start in San Jose so tonight’s game is made that much more important to get back on track.

Canadiens

The Habs were outright shelled in San Jose on Monday night, losing 4-0 to the Sharks in a game that they were thoroughly outplayed from start to finish.

Goaltender Carey Price gave up more than two goals for the first time in what seems like ages and the Habs didn’t have any response to the bigger and stronger Sharks.

Montreal is up against a similar type of team tonight as the big and physical Ducks will no doubt try to impose their will early and break the Habs’ will. What may be concern for some Habs fans is that they have been lulled into a bit of false security of late despite winning games.

Sure their 4-0 win at home over the Leafs looks nice on paper but Montreal was out shot 30-23 in that game and Carey Price was the difference, especially in the first two periods when the Habs were out shot 22-11.

Montreal was out shot in their previous three wins as well, twice over Columbus and once against St. Louis. These are bad habits and while the team is getting wins they have to stop relying so heavily on Price to bail them out every night.

In fact, the Habs have been out shot 155-116 over their last five games (average of about 8 shots per night) but are 4-1-0.

Ducks

The Ducks have a chance to jump back into the lead in the overall NHL standings thanks to getting the wheels back on the track and the Nashville Predators falling into their worst slump of the season.

Anaheim had some struggles in the absence of Frederik Andersen but all seems to be well now and they’ve seemingly put that bad stretch behind them and are gearing up for a run at the Presidents Trophy.

What is so impressive about the Ducks and what (I think) makes them one of the toughest teams to beat in the league is how incredibly consistent they are and how they just go about their business night in and night out. The Ducks aren’t overly flashy and aside from Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf they aren’t packed with stars.

Rather, this team just rolls three solid lines all night long and never gives their opponents a shift off.

This is the definitive model for today’s NHL where total team effort overpowers superstars. Anaheim’s +15 goal differential doesn’t even put them in the top 10 in the league in that category, yet a win tonight can put them in first overall.

This is a telling stat in that this team knows how to win one goal games and have been playing playoff style hockey for much of the year.

Canadiens vs. Ducks 4* Free Pick

The Ducks took the first leg of the two game series in Montreal, and the Habs haven’t really been playing at the top of their game lately despite a 4-1-0 record in their last five.

I think Montreal is very cognizant of their deficiencies of late and will come out tonight looking to tighten things up defensively.

That being said, I think the Ducks are just really getting back into form and they’ll be too much for Montreal tonight.

Go with Anaheim.

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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.


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