NHL Hockey Betting: Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators

NHL Hockey Betting:  Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The first weekend of the NHL season is upon us and Saturday offers a big 12 game card. In this writeup we’ll look at an ‘all Canada’ matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators. CBC’s ‘Hockey night In Canada’ has a double header scheduled (Boston/Toronto, Calgary/Vancouver) but this might be the most entertaining matchup on the board involving a Canadian team. Both teams started the season with a victory though under dramatically different circumstances. Montreal made short work of Buffalo winning 4-1 while Ottawa needed overtime to beat Auston Matthews…er….the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4.

Montreal is awaiting the return of starting goaltender Carey Price but they didn’t miss him in their opening game as they got a good effort from well traveled veteran Al Montoya who spent the last two years backing up Roberto Luongo in Florida. Montoya stopped 30 of 31 shots and will likely be between the pipes once again tonight. Price missed most of the 2015-2016 season with a knee injury but he looked good in the World Cup of Hockey. His problem now is much more pedestrian–a severe case of the flu. No word on his return timetable but there’s no indication that there’s any other problem. Even before the season there was speculation that he might not make his first appearance until the Habs 10/18 home opener against Pittsburgh. For now, Montoya will ‘hold down the fort’ with Charlie Lindgren coming up from the St. John’s Ice Caps to serve as backup.

Ottawa will start Craig Anderson once again and he played well in the Senators’ opening game (at least against everyone except Matthews). Anderson stopped 34 of 38 shots but therein we can see the problem that really sunk Ottawa last year–the Sens finished with the worst shots against per game total in the NHL (32.8) and the fifth worst goals against per game total (2.94). After rebuilding the defense in the offseason Ottawa is hoping to see improvement here. Can’t overreact to one game but it looks like ‘deja vu all over again’. Montreal is the more talented team and they definitely upgraded their defense with the addition of former Nashville Predators’ captain Shea Weber. Weber might not be the playmaking dynamo that P.K. Subban is but he’s as solid of a ‘prototypical defenseman’ as you’ll find in the NHL. The teams split four games last season with each winning once on ‘enemy ice’.


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