NHL Hockey Betting: Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The US Thanksgiving Eve card in the NHL offers thirteen games but none more compelling than this heavyweight matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers. The storyline is obvious–there are three teams tied for the overall lead in the NHL with 34 points. Two of them will be playing in this game. The Montreal Canadiens were the big story in the early part of the season as they roared out of the gate winning their first nine games (in regulation, no less) but the Rangers have been the hottest team in the league over the past month. New York has won 10 of their last 11 games behind solid defense and exceptional goaltending to catch the Habs in the Eastern Conference–and overall–standings. With the Rangers leading the Metro Division and the Canadiens in control in the Atlantic Division this rivalry could continue all season long. Out West, the Dallas Stars are playing excellent hockey and also have 34 points but on the East Coast that’s of little relevance now. In other words, this game is a huge deal.

New York has been incredible on defense so far this season due primarily to the inspired play of franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers have the best goals against per game number in the NHL but that only tells part of the story. They’re the *only* team in the NHL at the ‘quarter pole’ of the season allowing fewer than 2 goals per game. The Rangers give up a paltry 1.76 goals per contest. Second place Tampa Bay allows 2.18 goals per game. Montreal is the #5 team defense in the league giving up 2.23 goals per game. Worth noting that the Habs spent the last month without the services of starting goaltender Carey Price and held together nicely behind 24 year old rookie goalie Mike Condon.

Montreal has the better offense but not by much. The Habs and Dallas are tied for the overall lead in goals per game at 3.24. The Rangers weigh in tied for fourth and averaging 3.10 goals per contest. The Rangers have been great at home (10-1-1) but the Canadiens have been good on the road (7-2-1). Game looks like a toss up so we’ll take the ‘plus money’ price on Montreal.


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