Two games on New Years in the NHL, with the one being the yearly tradition of playing hockey outside, known as the NHL Winter Classic. In my opinion this should be the only outdoor game of the year, but they now they have a whole outdoor series. This game and if they want to have the Heritage Classic, which is the same concept, just in a Canadian city. The outdoors concept has been watered down to me just because of all the games they are playing now in football and baseball stadiums. I understand, though, these games garner plenty of attention and it turns into money for the NHL. Money will always win out, and as long as the money is pouring in from them, the NHL will continue to hold an abundance of them. With that said, I do think the idea is neat. Especially if it’s supposed to be a snowy forecast or something of the sort. It was in the 70s in Boston last week, as concern grew if the weather was going to be cold enough for this game. They have already played outdoor games in California, so it wouldn’t have been too much of a problem. But I assume the ice wouldn’t have been in idea shape, nor would the atmosphere be as great. I don’t feel I would be too excited about watching a hockey game outside in California, but who knows.
This Winter Classic will be held at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Head coach Bill Belichick had some time to lace up the skates and take to the ice. Belichick clearly doesn’t have much experience on skates, as the footage is pretty funny, but it was nice of him to get out there regardless to experience it. For the teams, I think the NHL got it right with this one. Most Winter Classics should focus classic matchups featuring Original 6 teams. We get one of the best rivalries in all of hockey with the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins facing off. The Canadiens were the hottest team in hockey to open the season, but have hit a wall, a big wall. They have completely thrown away their impressive start and are now 21-15-2. Not bad still, but considering where they were, the Habs can’t be happy. Losing Carey Price hurts and Mike Condon hasn’t been able to make up for that. I wonder how the nerves will impact Condon in the biggest stage of his career. Let’s get to the pick now.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins NHL Pick
The confidence that the Canadiens once had has been expunged. More than anything, the kind of confidence the Habs had early in the season during their terrific run was excellent. It feels like once Price exited all of that confidence went out the window. Condon was playing well to start, but even then, the Canadiens were playing with no jump in their step. I suspect the pressure on Condon is beginning to wear on him. It hasn’t been all his fault, note that the Canadiens have been dealing with injuries, and finding goal scorers has been a problem. In their last ten games they’ve averaged only 1.50 goals per game. It doesn’t matter if Carey Price was in net, they’d still be losing games with that offense.
Defensively the Bruins have improved drastically from the start of the season, where they were getting lit up every night. The Bruins who typically played in low scoring games, suddenly were competing in seven or eight goal games constantly. They have settled down now, and Rask has been playing better. In their last ten games they’ve allowed 2.20 goals per game. The UNDER has gone 6-1 in Winter Classics. For the Habs and Bruins, they went 7-3 to the UNDER in their last ten games. I thought this would be a total of 5, but it’s 5.5 juiced. It seems like the most logical play to me in this game. I like the Bruins too, but the price swing does worry me some.
PICK: UNDER 5.5 GOALS (-125)