Stephen Nover Free Tuesday NHL Play

On October 10, 2017, in Free Picks, NHL, by Stephen

Blackhawks plus $1.20 at Canadiens

The Blackhawks have struggled on the road so the oddsmaker has made them a ‘dog against the Canadiens.

I believe that’s a mistake. Chicago definitely is the superior team. The Canadiens haven’t been a good home club – 5-13 in their last 18 home contests – and are struggling offensively.

This marks Montreal’s first home game after a three-game road trip to open the season. Often it works against a team returning home in their first game following being gone for an extended trip.

The Canadiens have managed just one goal at even strength and four goals all together. Their last game was a 2-0 loss to the Rangers on Sunday. The Rangers had given up 12 goals in their previous two games.

By contrast, the Blackhawks are the second-highest goal scoring team in the NHL behind Toronto. The Blackhawks are averaging six goals in their three games. The Blackhawks entered this season very emotional about their embarrassing playoff exit last season. They opened up blasting the defending two-time Stanley Cup champion Penguins, 10-1, and followed that up with a 5-1 victory against the Blue Jackets.

But then last night the Blackhawks blew a two-goal lead in the third period and lost, 4-3 in overtime, to Toronto. That was their opening road game. I anticipate the Blackhawks to be fired-up following that stinging defeat.

The Canadiens heavily rely on goalie Carey Price. He wasn’t as dominant last season, though, as he’s been in the past. Chicago has an excellent goalie, too, Corey Crawford. And it’s Crawford who is hotter than Price right now with a save percentage of .968 compared to Price’s .905. Crawford always gets pumped when he plays in Montral since that’s his hometown.

Price had an off-night this past Saturday giving up four goals on 14 shots to the Capitals in one period before being pulled. Right now I trust Crawford more.

The Blackhawks hold a major edge on offense. They’ve beaten the Canadiens seven consecutive times because of it, including winning during their last three visits to Montreal.

This is a third-in-four nights scenario for the Blackhawks. But they’ve been up to task before in this situation winning eight of the past nine times in that spot.


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