Though we lost our previous free NHL selection Monday evening, we remain a stellar 6-2 on the season with our featured bets here at The Sports Geek. Though the card is thin tonight, there is one game that provides some solid value in an all-Canadian affair north of the border.
Montreal Canadiens (+135) @ Ottawa Senators (-155)
An all-Northeast divisional clash takes place Wednesday evening in Canada’s capital as the Ottawa Senators play host to the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams were considered fringe playoff teams at the outset of the season, but both have enjoyed roaring starts in 2013.
This is the first meeting between the Habs and Sens this year, and both teams will have to endure their fair share of injuries. Montreal is fresh off re-signing their top defenceman, PK Subban to a new deal, but he’s still unavailable to the team. Star goalie Carey Price will take the night off, while forward Max Pacioretty is still recovering from his emergency appendectiomy. For the Sens, they’ll only have one absence but it’s a big one. All-star forward Jason Spezza has been ruled out with a shoulder injury and the length of his absence has yet to be determined. Spezza is the Sens’ top forward, and all offense goes through #19. Without Spezza the Senators attack could go stale.
Even though much of Montreal’s success in recent seasons can be attributed to the play of Carey Price, back-up goalie Peter Budaj is very capable. Budaj has starting experience with the Avalanche and can definitely provide Montreal with winnable goaltending. He thrived last year in this role, and should be primed for a big outing in his first start of the year.
Ottawa has played very well this season, but much of their season can be chalked up to playing inferior opposition. This is a team with glaring holes on defense, and without Jason Spezza, they’ll become too one-dimensional on offense. Kyle Turris is a great, young player for Ottawa, but he’s not ready for the marquee minutes just yet.
The Habs are a fairly sizable underdog in a contest that truly should be closer to a pick’em. Games between these two teams in Ottawa usually garner a 50-50 crowd split between Canadiens fans and Senators fans, and that tends to be a tad demoralizing for the home team. Look for the Habs to continue their torrid pace in front of a revved up Scotiabank Place crowd loaded with the famed bleu, blance, et rouge, and win their fifth contest in a row. Consider Montreal as great road value tonight.
PICK = Montreal (+135)