Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals Odds - Free Pick 12/26/2015
The Montreal Canadiens will try and snap a five-game losing streak this Saturday night when they face-off against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (ET) for this Eastern Conference showdown and the game will be available on NHL Center Ice.
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Montreal continues to lead the Atlantic Division with 43 points, but its lead over both Boston and Florida is down to just one point with a dismal 1-9 record in their last 10 games. The Canadiens' current losing streak reached five games with this past Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Minnesota as +133 road underdogs. Their current eight-game road trip started with a 5-1 loss to Nashville as +140 underdogs on Dec. 21. Montreal is 9-7-1 on the road this season and the total has stayed UNDER in six of its last eight games overall.
During this five-game slide, the Canadiens have only managed to score a total of five goals and over their last 10 games their scoring average is just 1.5 goals per game. This has dropped their scoring average on the year to 2.9 goals, which is still the fifth-highest total in the league. At the other end of the ice Montreal is holding teams to an average of 2.4 goals a game, but this has jumped to 3.2 goals a game over the same 10-game span. One of the main reasons for the Canadiens' recent slide has been the loss of goalie Carey Price. He has been out of the lineup since late November with a leg injury. In his place, both Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski have spent time between the pipes.
Washington is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and eight points in front of the New York Rangers for first place in the Metro Division. The Capitals' current winning streak reached six games with this past Monday's 2-1 victory against Carolina as -117 road favorites. The total stayed UNDER the 5.5-goal line and it has now stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in eight of their last 10 games. Washington has an overall record of 25-6-2 this season that includes a very solid 13-3-1 record on its home ice.
The Capitals continue to fire on all cylinders as the year draws to a close. Going back to a 7-3 rout of Colorado on Nov. 21 as -186 home favorites, they have averaged 3.4 goals over the 15-game span. Washington is currently ranked second in the NHL in scoring with 3.1 goals a game with both Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom leading the way. The Capitals are the league's top defensive team in goals allowed (2.2) and a big part of the reason why has been the play of goalie Braden Holtby. He has played in 27 of the team's first 33 games and his current goals-against average stands at 1.96, which is the lowest in the league. He has the fifth-best save percentage in the NHL at .931.
The Canadiens are 23-7 in their last 30 games against the Metro Division, but they have lost their last six games against a team with a winning record. The total has gone OVER in nine of their last 14 road games.
The Capitals are 7-1 in their last eight games played on Saturday and they are 4-1 in their last five games against a team with a winning record. The total has gone OVER in three of their last five home games.
Head-to-head in this conference tilt, the road team is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in 16 of the last 26 games played in Washington. The Capitals drew first blood in the season series with a 3-2 victory on Dec. 3 as -111 road favorites.
Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals Prediction
You would have to stick with the hot hand in this one with a play on Washington, but given the high moneyline in this matchup I am going with the much more favorable +155 odds on the Capitals' -1.5 puck line as my "best bet" play in this contest.