January 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM #53128
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Scuffling Eastern Conference Teams Search for a Little Consistency – Wings Host Habs
The Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings face off against each other for the first time this season Friday night as part of a relatively light night of NHL action. The Wings have been absolutely decimated by injuries as of late but came up with arguably their best performance last time out in an improbable 5-4 shootout win versus Chicago while the Habs have lost three of four games and are coming off an ugly 5-1 loss to the Penguins on Wednesday night.
Montreal (27-18-2-3) at Detroit (22-18-3-7)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, January 24, 2014
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Broadcast: RDS, TSN, FS-D
Habs vs. Wings Betting Lines from betonline.com
Montreal Canadiens -1½ +260 -110 Ov 5 -116
Detroit Red Wings +1½ -310 +100 Un 5 +105
The Montreal Canadiens certainly don’t look like themselves. A previously defense-minded squad has given up 18 goals in the last four games and everybody seems to be struggling at this time. Peter Budaj came in to relieve Carey Price after Price gave up five goals in 35 minutes Wednesday but Price will assume his normal role as starter Friday night. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Price is 0-2-0 with a 5.74 GAA and .820 save percentage in his last two starts. Price is 2-2-1 with a 2.36 GAA in five lifetime matchups versus Detroit.
Offensively the Habs have gone cold. They average 2.48 goals per game but they have been off as of late. Max Pacioretty has been the only consistent force among the Habs forwards – he has 11 points in 10 games while Andrei Markov has four points in five games. Emotional leader PK Subban highlights the list of Canadiens that are struggling to record points – he has just two points in his last eight games.
How the injury depleted Wings beat the Blackhawks Wednesday is absolutely beyond me. But the team gets back on the ice Friday with another returning superstar joining the club. Daniel Alfredsson returns after a six game absence that will still be without Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Joakim Andersson (lower body), Cory Emmerton (hand) and Stephen Weiss (groin), and goalie Jimmy Howard (knee).
Alfredsson will definitely help an offense that is middle of the pack in the NHL – 2.48 goals per game (exactly the same as the Habs). Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist combined for seven points (one goal, six assists) in a 5-4 shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, Justin Abdelkader has two points in two games and Brendan Smith has two points in three games – far from an impressive Hot List but OK considering the host of minor-leaguers that have been forced into the lineup. Some help from Todd Bertuzzi (zero points in five games and Dan Cleary (zero points in five games) would be nice!
Jonas Gustavsson will get the start between the pipes for Detroit Friday in place of Jimmy Howard. He enters the game having won four straight games. Gustavsson is 3-2-1 with a 2.04 goals-against average in six career starts against Montreal.
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Under is 6-2-2 in DET last 10 home games.
• DET are 37-15 in their last 52 Fri. games.
• DET are 461-221-27 in their last 709 home games.
• Under is 6-2-1 in the last 9 meetings.
• MON are 5-11 in the last 16 meetings.
The Habs are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games while the Wings are 4-5-1 over that span – neither team is playing well at the moment. But the Wings may have used up all of their karma last time out in that win against Chicago. Montreal is better than they have been playing while Detroit – they look every bit the .500 team they have been with their injury situation. The road team gets it done here.
Pick: Montreal Canadiens -110
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