The Montreal Canadiens will face their first adversity of the season as they will be Carey Price-less for a generous amount of time. Price is out for six weeks and it will be Mike Condon taking over during that time. Luckily, the Canadiens did give Condon some playing time early in the season, so he did get some experience already. Nevertheless, Condon is no Carey Price, that much is obviously true. Condon has been playing extremely well, though. Note his GAA of 2.19 and 8-2 record. Price has a 2.06 GAA so not that far off. Although, allow us to see where Condon is in six weeks. If he can maintain this pace until then, I believe that Condon might be a prized possession. This reminds me so much of the Lundqvist and Cam Talbot switch-off for the Rangers last season. Henrik got hurt, Talbot jumps in and does a spectacular job at holding the fort down. However, where is Talbot now? Struggling in Edmonton is where he’s at, posting a 3.17 GAA and 3-8-1 record. Talbot doesn’t have the same kind of defense in Edmonton that he did in New York, we can come to that much of a conclusion. But it’s just the fact how quickly things can change.
We will see if it’s the same thing with Condon. He does have a great defense in front of him in Montreal. Condon needs to be feeling confident right now. His latest win came on a 3-2 win over the Devils, only to lose the following night by the same score. The first game was in a shootout, the second came to an end in overtime. The Habs have a date with the newly acclimated Columbus Blue Jackets. Off to one of the worst starts in NHL history, the Jackets fired their head coach and got instant results with their new hire, John Tortorella. The Blue Jackets are suddenly a respectable 10-15-1. Not great by a long shot, but considering where they were, the Blue Jackets are heading in the right direction. They face a stingy test tonight vs the Canadiens, a test that would confer to us that they are not the same Blue Jackets we knew a month ago.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL Pick
For the Blue Jackets to win this game they of course have to play well, and then they need have some breaks go their way. The Canadiens aren’t 18-4-2 by accident, they are one of the best teams in the NHL. Even with Price out, the Canadiens will be just fine for the next several weeks. And the beauty of the Canadiens this season has been the goal scoring. When you think of the Canadiens you think defense, but this season there is some offensive prowess as well. The defense is still there and the offense has come to life. They need that to get them over the next hump and here it is. The Canadiens are 2nd in the NHL in goal scoring with 3.48 goals scored per game. Likewise, they are near the top of the league in defense as well, averaging 2.20 goals allowed a game.
The Blue Jackets find themselves all the way back in 26th with regards to goals against. They are also 20th in goal scoring. However, I will give credit where credit is due, they have been getting better as a team overall. In their last ten games they’ve scored 2.50 goals per game, .10 than their season average and 2.20 goals against, which is .84 times better. The Canadiens are still vastly superior to the Jackets, though. The value I see on the Habs is tremendous. With a play on the puck-line at +172 I think it’s worth a shot.
PICK: CANADIENS -1.5 (+172)