November 22, 2013 at 2:48 PM #52979
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Middling Eastern Conference Battle –
The Washington Capitals will look to avenge a 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last time out when they host the Montreal Canadiens, a team that they have beaten eight of the last nine times they’ve played. The Caps have turned around a slow start to the season and despite the loss Wednesday they are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games overall. Montreal has gone just 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and will be looking to make a statement Friday.
Montreal (11-9-0-2) at Washington (12-9-0-1)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, November 22, 2013
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia
Broadcast: RDS, TSN, CSN-DC
Canadiens vs. Capitals Betting Lines from betonline.com
Montreal Canadiens +1½ -290 +109 Ov 5 -137
Washington Capitals -1½ +245 -120 Un 5 +124
The Montreal Canadiens haven’t been great at any point this season but they are coming off perhaps their best game of the year – a 6-2 win over Minnesota Tuesday. Max Pacioretty who has largely struggled this year scored a natural hat trick in that game – a good sign going forward for this team. Much maligned David Desharnais also had a good game.
Montreal’s offense has been typically middle-of-the-pack this season – the team is averaging 2.59 goals per game and relying again on their defense and goaltending. Alex Galchenyuk has three goals and two assists in his past five games for the Canadiens, Brenden Gallagher has four points in four games to go along with Pacioretty who needs to get going for the Habs.
Carey Price will get the day off Friday – Peter Budaj is expected to start in goal. He is 3-1-0 with a very good 1.48 GAA and .945 save percentage in four games this year.
The Washington Capitals are knocking on the door of first place in the Metropolitan Division thanks to a recent hot streak. The offense has caught fire lately outside of their last game and now averages 2.91 goals per game. Washington totaled 12 goals during a three-game winning streak that ended with Wednesday’s 4-0 home loss to rival Pittsburgh – they will be out to kick start the offense once again Friday.
Guess who is leading the way? Alex Ovechkin has 24 points in 20 games – 17 goals including four in the last four games , Marcus Johansson has eight points in eight games and John Carlson has four points in four games. Mike Green will be back in the lineup Friday to bolster an offense that obviously missed him Wednesday.
Some help from Martin Erat – just one assist in nine games and Troy Brouwer – zero points in five games would be nice – the Caps are looking very much like a one-line team right now.
Coach Adam Oats has yet to name his starting goaltender. Braden Holtby has a .935 save percentage over his past three starts despite facing an average of 41.3 shots per game but he may rest in favor of Michal Neuvirth who has been decent in six games started this year.
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Under is 7-1-2 in MON last 10 road games.
• Under is 14-5-2 in MON last 21 overall.
• Under is 6-2 in WAS last 8 home games.
• WAS are 19-7 in their last 26 home games.
• WAS are 7-3 in their last 10 overall.
• MON are 1-8 in the last 9 meetings.
• Under is 6-1-1 in the last 8 meetings.
The Washington Capitals have owned this series as of late but the Habs did earn three of a possible four points last year in DC. This should be an interesting matchup between Ovechkin and PK Subban who is having yet another terrific season. It appears as though to shut down the Caps, the key is slowing Ovy – if he doesn’t score, this team simply doesn’t win. I like Subban to step up and thrive off the challenge ahead of him tonight. Going against the trends (the Capitals are 9-1-1 in their last 11 meetings with Montreal), I think the odds catch up to the Habs as they cool off the Caps tonight.
Pick: Montreal Canadiens +109
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