Price, Canadiens Look To Get Back On Track Versus Visiting Capitals
The Montreal Canadiens celebrated being one of the first teams to clinch a playoff spot in the NHL Eastern Conference after missing the postseason a year ago. They haven’t looked anything like a playoff team since. The Canadiens looked awful during a three-game losing streak over which they were been outscored 18-8, marking the first time since 2009 in which they have allowed five goals or more in three-straight games. Nobody has struggled more than goaltender Carey Price, who was pulled in back-to-back games for the first time in his NHL career. Price will be looking to get back on track this Saturday night, and he is expected to start against the visiting Washington Capitals.
Washingon Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens
Saturday April 20, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
NHL Sports Betting Line: Montreal – 130
The Capitals have been one of the NHL’s hottest teams over the past month, winning eight-straight and going 9-0-1 in their last 10 online betting games to climb in to the top spot in the Southeast division. Washington is also now two games above .500 on the road, and it has a lot to do with the way that Adam Oates has turned this team around.
NHL Betting Preview: Washington Capitals
Oates was the one under fire at the beginning of the year when his team struggled out of the gate in his first season behind the bench as head coach, but his talk about needing time to turn the team in to an offensive juggernaut has really come to fruition. It took time for the Capitals to make the adjustment from a dump and chase team that hurried back to play a much more defensive focused game, and the results have been outstanding as Washington’s stars have rediscovered their offensive talents. The Capitals now rank fifth in the NHL in goals per game with Alex Ovechkin up to 28 goals and 48 points on the year. Nicklas Backstrom has 38 assists and 44 points in 43 games, and the team is playing with a lot more confidence now that pucks are going in the net.
NHL Betting Preview: Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens have undoubtedly heard about the offensive totals that Washington has put up in recent weeks, and this will be another tough test as they look to get back on track defensively. Price has really struggled with tracking pucks and controlling rebounds, and the team really needs to step up their play in front of him to help break out of this slump. Montreal has slipped from a top-10 defensive team to 15th in goals per game allowed, and its fourth-ranked offense hasn’t been able to overcome the defensive struggles of late. The Canadiens’ powerplay still ranks fifth in the NHL, but they need to use their speed to draw more penalties and create those scoring opportunities.
NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
While some online sports betting experts have talked about the timing of Montreal’s struggles, the truth is it could be a blessing in disguise that the team is going through this now and not in the opening playoff round. The Canadiens need to find a way to get back to playing head coach Michel Therrien’s system and being more defensively responsible, and it will be a real confidence boost if they can slow down the Capitals’ high-scoring attack to get back in the win column.
NHL Betting Pick: Montreal Canadiens
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