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Aside from two evenings ago I have been red hot with my recent NHL picks. Last Friday I hit my only pick of Anaheim to win at +125, Monday I hit my only pick with Washington and Buffalo going OVER 5.5 at +120, and last night I hit my only pick of Chicago to beat the Rangers at +125. Those are three substantial underdog winners out of my last four nights and I have only lost one pick over my last five overall. This has definitely been one of, if not my best streak of the season given the odds these winners are rolling in at. The Blackhawks and Rangers played one of the tightest-checking, defensive minded games I have seen all year last night and although it lacked some flare, it didn’t lack talent, skill or effort as both teams put on a clinic on how to be responsible defensively while the goaltending could not have been any better. A 1-0 Blackhawks win netted us a winner and with 10 games on tonight’s NHL schedule I will look to keep rolling on.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Montreal Canadiens
My Pick – CANADIENS – 1.5 (+150)
The Carolina Hurricanes travel north of the border tonight to take on the Montreal Canadiens for the third and final time this season. Carolina is looking to avoid being swept by the Habs in their regular-season series as these two teams are certainly on opposite ends of the spectrum this season. Montreal sits with 95 points on the campaign which is good for a second-place tie in the Presidents Trophy race while the Hurricanes are firmly in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes as their 61 points is fifth-worst in the league and will set them up for a high draft pick in the June Entry Draft. I like this pick for pretty much one reason and one reason only, and that reason is Carey Price. Price is an easy candidate for the Hart Trophy this season as league MVP with his 1.93 goals against average and .935 save percentage not to mention personifying the word “valuable” unlike any other player in the league. He has turned away 53 of 55 Carolina shots this season and has allowed a single goal in both of Montreal’s victories over Carolina. After a night off against Florida on Tuesday night Price is fresh and will face a Carolina team that has struggled to score goals all season long. Carolina’s 2.29 goals per game is 26th in the league and they have scored just three goals against Montreal over their last four meetings. Meanwhile, the Habs have scored 14 goals in those last four meetings and have outscored the Hurricanes 32-12 over their last eight meetings at the Bell Centre, seven of which were Montreal wins. Anton Khudobin will get the nod this evening for the Hurricanes in goal and he is 0-2-0 with a 3.00 goals against average against the Habs while having a 3.01 goals against average since the beginning of February. Canadiens leading scorer Max Pacioretty has seven goals and 12 points over his last eight games against Carolina while the Hurricanes’ leading scorer Justin Faulk has just four assists in his ten games against Montreal while Eric Staal is pointless over his last four and also pointless in his last four vs. the Habs in Montreal. By now you likely get the point that Carolina will be in extremely tough to score tonight against a Montreal team that is number one in the league with only 2.20 goals against per game. I am not saying Montreal is an offensive juggernaut by any means however their four goals per game against the Hurricanes over their last eight meetings in Montreal combined with Carolina’s offensive struggles allows me to be very confident in this pick. Take the Habs to win this one by at least a pair of goals tonight.