Following a nice winner yesterday evening with the Penguins exacting their revenge on the Islanders, we’re back at it on a quiet Wednesday evening for a historic rivalry clash between the Boston Bruins and the red-hot Montreal Canadiens. Featured selections here at The Sports Geek are now 9-4-0 thus far in 2013.
Boston Bruins (-110) @ Montreal Canadiens (-110)
One of the early season surprises in 2013 has to undoubtedly revolve around the play of Montreal thus far. Entering the year they were considered a fringe playoff squad, but they’ve silenced the doubters through their first eight contests. Montreal enters this game riding a nice streak that has seen them jump out to a 6-2 record, but a simple schedule analysis reveals their quality of competition hasn’t been that difficult.
For Montreal, this is a watershed game for their team this season. Their victories over inferior competition, while impressive, don’t prove they’ve fully turned the corner. That said, beating a powerhouse like the Boston Bruins would provide validity to a team searching for some. Unfortunately for the resurgent Habs, tonight will not be the night. The Bruins are coming off a stellar performance Saturday night where they controlled all aspects of the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and enter this contest well-rested and hungry to beat on their long-time rivals. Boston plays as physical and mean as any team in the league, and their stout defense will prove problematic for a Canadiens squad that lacks an abundance of goal-scorers.
Though the Bruins enter this contest somewhat depleted, losing Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Brad Marchand all to injuries, they possess enough depth and determination to overwhelm a Canadiens squad that isn’t as good as its record would indicate. Montreal is an overvalued commodity right now in the betting market, and as they start playing better teams, look for a regression to the back of the pack.
While the Habs will put up a valiant fight against the Bruins, look for the size and toughness of Boston to force Montreal into a passive game. Boston will nullify the scoring chances the Habs have been used to getting of late, and Tuukka Rask will be stellar when called upon. Expect an exciting and hard-fought game, with the Bruins edging their Northeast division rivals.
PICK = Boston (-110)
We went 1-1 with our bonus selections yesterday evening, bringing our total to 12-9 on the year. With only three games in total on the NHL card this evening, it’s rare to find a game suitable of being a bonus selection, but the Ducks/Avalanche game presents some intriguing options.
Bonus Pick #1: Anaheim (-110) At a pick’em price against inferior opposition, the Ducks represent solid value this evening. They’ve been rolling of late, and though Colorado could be a solid NHL team, the injuries they’ve been dealt with have been crippling. Losing their captain Gabriel Landeskog, as well as Steve Downie, have both proven to be irrecoverable losses, and Ryan O’Reilly holding out doesn’t help matters either. The Ducks are riding a very hot hand between the pipes right now in Swedish sensation Viktor Fasth. Fasth is an NHL-rookie who has posted a 3-0 record with a 1.30 GAA and a .946 SV%. Going against a struggling Avs attack should prove to be easy for Fasth and his red-hot Ducks. Their forward depth will ultimately overwhelm Colorado, en route to another big road victory.