NHL

NHL Betting Preview: Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

Henrik LundqvistThe Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers are two teams in search of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The sports betting world remembers these two teams at the beginning of the season when both were having a difficult time winning games. With all of the March Madness odds going on, the fact that both teams are now looking towards the playoffs can sometimes be lost. The sportsbook reviews for this upcoming Canadiens at Rangers game are much different than they were at the beginning of the season.

Goaltending

When you bet March madness you look for a team that plays solid defense and can keep the other team off the scoreboard. The same is true when betting on a hockey game and in hockey the most important defenseman on the ice is the goaltender.

Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist has won his last two games in impressive fashion by allowing only three goals in those two games. The early struggles of the Rangers were mirrored in Lundqvist’s shaky start. But he has started to string together a good season with a respectable .919% save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average for the season.

The shaky start for the Canadiens can be directly traced back to their goaltending problems. Carey Price was supposed to be the next Patrick Roy. The Canadiens gave him the reigns this season and he has struggled terribly. As the season progressed the Canadiens had seen enough and put Jaroslav Halak in goal to save the season, and save the season he did. Halak is red-hot winning his last five games including one with as shut-out. He is one of the main reasons the Canadiens have bolted from near the basement into seventh place in the conference.

Offense
The Canadiens have always had offense. This year they have nine players with double-digits in goals and three players with 30 or more points. Tomas Plekanec is the team’s leading scorer with 68 points and he has a goal in three of the last five games.

The Rangers have eight players with double-digits in goals, but when you get past leading scorer Marian Gaborik the production really drops off. This is another reason for the Rangers’ early troubles; they cannot put the puck in the net.

Defense

Both teams have more goals against than they do goals for, and the numbers are pretty similar. The Rangers are -7 in the difference between goals for and goals against, and the Canadiens are -3. Much of what the Canadiens have done to close that gap has happened in the last 15 to 20 games with Halak in goal.

Bottom Line
The Canadiens are on fire with a goalie that is on a hot streak. By all accounts this should be a game where the Canadiens roll over the Rangers. The fact that the game is being played in Madison Square Garden may help the Rangers a little, but with the Canadiens riding a huge wave of momentum it will be very difficult for the Rangers to make any progress in their hunt for a playoff spot in this game. Right now the Rangers are in ninth place and the Canadiens are in seventh with the Rangers one point out of a playoff spot. This game does not appear to be the game that will change that for the Rangers.

Pick: Montreal Canadiens 5-2

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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