NHL Hockey Betting: Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets

NHL Hockey Betting:  Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Montreal Canadiens find themselves having fallen out of the proverbial ‘frying pan’ and right into the fire. After a 4-2 home loss last night against the hottest team in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild, they have to travel to Nationwide Arena to play the hottest team in the league aka the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets have won 11 straight games and are coming off a huge and decisive victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. Pittsburgh scored the first goal of the game against Columbus only to have the Blue Jackets roar back for 7 unanswered scores en route to a 7-1 demolition of the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

The Canadiens will give their superstar goaltender Carey Price the night off in favor of veteran Al Montoya. Montoya is making only his 9th start of the season and has a 3-3-2 record with a 2.91 goals against average and a 0.905 save percentage and 1 shutout. He’ll most likely face Jackets’ starter Sergei Bobrovsky though that has yet to be confirmed. Bobrovsky has a 20-5-2 record with a 1.91 goals against average, a 0.933 save percentage and three shutouts. If Bobrovsky doesn’t go it’ll be backup Curtis McElhinney but he’s started only four games this year. Despite the lack of confirmation it’s more than likely that the workhorse Bobrovsky takes this start against a tough Eastern Conference foe.

Obviously, the Jackets are in a tough emotional spot coming off that huge win over Pittsburgh last night but they’re catching a very banged up Canadiens team that is definitely looking forward to the Christmas Break. Alexi Emelin is listed as ‘questionable’ for this game due to personal reasons. Andre Markov, Andrew Shaw, Greg Pateryn, Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais are all out longterm. The Jackets have only two names on their injured list and they’ve been there all season–right winger David Clarkson and backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.

The kneejerk reaction is to take the Habs off a loss against a Jackets’ team in ‘letdown mode’ but we’re going to do the opposite. Montreal is ‘playing out the string’ until the Christmas Break and the Blue Jackets won’t need a huge effort to win. If they play competent hockey on home ice they should get this victory.


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