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Hot Panthers Visit Cooling Canadiens on Monday Night

The early season doormats of the NHL the Florida Panthers will attempt to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings Monday night when they visit the scuffling Montreal Canadiens.

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Florida (16-20-1-5) at Montreal (24-14-2-3)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, January 6, 2014
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
Broadcast: RDS, FS-F, TSN-HABS
Panthers vs. Habs Betting Lines 
Florida Panthers +1½ -190 +162 Ov 5 -116
Montreal Canadiens -1½ +165 -178 Un 5 +105

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The Habs will be looking to put a 1-1-2 stretch in the rear view mirror but the Panthers may be the wrong team to snap a slump against. Florida has won both meetings with Montreal this year and is 7-2-0 versus the Habs in the last nine meetings overall.

The Florida Panthers have really turned things around since starting the season terribly. In their last 10 games Florida has quietly gone 6-3-1 including a win at home against Montreal December 29, Detroit and the Leafs. It`s pretty hard to look at any part of their game and credit that with the turnaround – Florida averages 2.29 goals for per game and 3.07 goals per game against.

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Florida is a relative bunch of no-names offensively. 18-year-old rookie forward Aleksander Barkov now leads the team with 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) thanks to a current five-game point streak (one goal, five assists), last year`s Number 1 pick Jonathan Huberdeau has two points in two games, Brad Boyes has five points in three games and Tom Gilbert has three points in three games. The Panthers are coming off a 5-4 shootout win – the second time they netted four goals in regulation in their last three games.

As mentioned, the Panthers defense has not been good but Tim Thomas is in mid-season form – right in the middle of the season! He has been decent and actually gives the Panthers legitimacy between the pipes. Thomas is 1-0-1 with a 2.31 GAA and .932 save percentage in his last two starts.

The Montreal Canadiens are experiencing a bit of a rough patch. They are 1-1-2 in their last four overall and 1-2-1 in their last four home games. Carey Price has given up 13 goals in his last three starts and a few of their big names are struggling.

The Habs average 2.54 goals per game and they have been lighting the lamp with regularity lately – 13 goals scored in their last three games. P.K. Subban (two goals, four assists) and forward Max Pacioretty (four goals, two assists) totaled six points each over their past three games, Daniele Briere finally showed up after being declared a healthy scratch – he scored twice against Ottawa Saturday night, Brendan Gallagher has two points in his last two games and Douglas Murray and Travis Moen have two points in their last two games.

Too bad about Brian Gionta who has one point in his last five games and Rene Bourque who is somehow pointless in eight.

It is unclear as to who the Habs will start between the pipes Monday – Carey Price is due for a night off but backup Peter Budaj is 1-2-0 with a 3.69 GAA and .876 save percentage in his last three starts.

Dave’s FREE NHL Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:
• FLA are 6-2 in their last 8 vs. Atlantic.
• FLA are 15-36 in their last 51 road games.
• Under is 6-2-2 in MON last 10 vs. Atlantic.
• MON are 7-3 in their last 10 home games.
• MON are 4-9 in their last 13 Mon. games.
• Under is 18-7-6 in the last 31 meetings.

This is an interesting game to call. The Habs are a better team than they have been showing while the Panthers likely aren`t as good as their recent record suggests. But the Panthers have owned Montreal the last 2 1/2 years. I like that trend to continue. I simply can`t resist a hot team as such a big underdog. The Panthers have Montreal`s number and may have caught them at precisely the right time… again!

Pick: Florida Panthers +162


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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.