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Posted at 4:30 PM EST.
7:30 PM EST. Regulation only. The Canadiens are now 1-2 after back-to-back losses on Hockey Night in Canada and Rogers Hometown Hockey, respectively. Despite their record, we like what we’ve seen from the Habs, as they’ve been the better team in all three of their games this season by recording at least 34 shots in all three contests. They outshot and out-chanced the Sabres, Capitals and Rangers and have run into three hot goaltenders in Robin Lehner, Braden Holtby, and Henrik Lundqvist. The most misleading score this season might be Montreal’s 6-1 loss in Washington Saturday night. Carey Price was pulled in D.C. but rebounded in New York, however; his team could not put anything on the score sheet. Montreal is 30th out of 31 teams in PDO (save % + shooting %), which can be used to measure “puck luck” but a deeper look shows us the Canadiens deserve better by posting a Corsi % (an advanced statistic used to measure shot attempt differential while at even strength play) of 56.8 which is third in the NHL and considered "elite". Montreal is also a top-10 Fenwick team (Fenwick is similar to Corsi in its focus and calculation but ignores blocked shots in the differential calculation) ramking 8th at 54.6%. The Habs now head home after three strong road efforts to start the season, as they host the Blackhawks who rank 25th and 26th in Corsi% and Fenwick% respectively.
Chicago is 2-0-1 after an offensive explosion to start the season. The ‘Hawks put up 10 on the defending champs at home in their season opener and followed up that with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jackets. Last time out, Chicago dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime to the Maple Leafs but they were very fortunate to get a point in Toronto after being outshot 43-21. Chicago was also outshot against the Jackets but all the market sees is 18 goals in three games against three playoff teams from a year ago. The loss at red-hot Toronto in extra time is also a forgivable one. If the Habs have been "unlucky" than the Blackhawks are the polar opposite, as they sit atop the PDO rankings at 113.6, which is the greater distance from 100 and therefore the more likely a correction is coming. Chicago’s stock is high while the Habs are being undersold here at home. Montreal has been playing well all season and the Bell Centre is one of the toughest places to visit in the league. The Canadiens have been the better of these two teams so far this season and the numbers under the hood prove it. We backed the Habs Sunday night and they were the better team. Tonight, they’ll be energized and very likely they’ll be the better team again. Hard work gets rewarded and Montreal figures to reap those rewards here.
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