NHL Hockey Betting: Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens

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

Inter-provincial battle au Centre Bell tonight as the Ottawa Senators face the formidable task of taking on the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens’ season opening win streak was ended by Vancouver at nine games and they were clearly suffering a ‘hangover’ the following night as they lost to Edmonton. Since then, they’ve won two straight in convincing fashion at Calgary and home against Winnipeg. Ottawa has lost five of their last seven games as the Senators have struggled to find their late season from from last year.

The big news is that there will be no Carey Price in net tonight for the Habs–the best goalie on the planet is suffering from a lower body injury. The official NHL injury report has a very ominous sounding ‘indefinitely’ as the timeframe but in reality he’ll be missing a week. That means rookie Mike Condon will make his third straight start and so far no problem for the 25 year old Massachusetts native. All Condon has done in his starts this season is go 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and a 0.944 save percentage. Condon is currently ‘unqualified’ relative to the NHL’s official stats (to ‘qualify’ a goalie has to be on pace to play 27 games) but were he ‘qualified’ he’d be leading the NHL in goals against average and tied for the league lead in save percentage. With Price on the shelf Montreal has recalled Dustin Tokarski from St. John’s of the AHL and he might get a start later in the week. Ottawa will counter with Craig Anderson who would love to have the stats of the Habs’ backup goalie. Instead, he’s got a 4-3-1 record and a 3.05 goals against average.

For some reason, there’s a perception that the Canadiens fell off after their streak was ended. Not so much–they’re still 11-2-0 for 22 points–that’s a four point edge over the second best team in the NHL (the Dallas Stars with 18 points). The Habs are #3 in goals against per game (1.85–fractions behind Pittsburgh and the NY Rangers 1.82) but have maintained their scoring pace and hold down the #2 goals for per game. Montreal is still a question mark in the eyes of many but so far they’ve been crazy good–P.K. Subban leads the NHL in plus/minus with three of his teammates in spots two through four. Montreal is undefeated at home this year and hard to see the bumbling Senators being the first to win au Centre Bell.


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