Boston Bruins, Canadiens continue NHL odds series

By: Barry Daniels | Friday, April 15, 2011

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price entered this best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against Boston with eight straight playoff losses. Price snapped that slump in Thursday’s Game 1 by blanking the Bruins, 2-0.

Since the Habs closed as 170 road underdogs, the ‘dog is now 9-4 in the last 13 series meetings between Boston and Montreal. Additionally, the Canadiens are now 7-2 in the last nine series meetings.

The combined two goals dipped below the five-goal closing total, marking the first time the ‘under’ had cashed in the past five series matchups.

Most offshore sports books monitored by Don Best Sports' Real-Time Odds have installed Boston as a hefty 205 home favorite for Saturday’s Game 2, which will begin at 4 p.m. (PT). The total has opened at five goals.

Price turned aside 31 shots to lead the Canadiens to the Game 1 victory. It was Price’s first playoff win since 2008, which included a four-game sweep by the Bruins in 2009.

But he has also had some successful moments in playoff action against the Bruins. This was the third time he has blanked Boston in postseason play. He was a 1-0 winner in Boston on April 15, 2008 and a 5-0 winner on April 24, 2008. The last shutout was the seventh and deciding game in that quarterfinal series.

Montreal provided Price with lots of help in the third period as they limited the Bruins to five shots on goal. Price made one game-saving stop on Milan Lucic’s shot from the slot and Travis Moen blocked another chance for Lucic. However, there were few other legitimate chances.

The Canadiens scored on their first shot of the game when Scott Gomez found Brian Gionta on a backdoor play at 2:45 of the first period. Mathieu Darche didn’t get a mention on the score sheet, but he chipped in by skating across the front of the net and distracting Tim Thomas.

The Boston goalie was the best in the league with a 2.00 goals-against average, a .938 save percentage and a .718 winning percentage. He was second with nine shutouts.

Price finished third in the NHL with eight shutouts, seventh with a .923 save percentage and 10th with a 2.35 goals against average. His eight shutouts ranked third.

Montreal played most of the first period without Andrei Kostitsyn after he was struck on the foot by a Zdeno Chara slap shot on his first shift. However, Kostitsyn returned for the second period and should be available for Game 2.

The game was played cleanly without any fights between the teams that had several physical confrontations during the regular season. The Habs were 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0-for-3. Boston held a 36-25 advantage in the face-off circle.

The Bruins slipped to 22-14-3-3 on their home ice, while Montreal improved to 21-19-2-0 on the road. The Habs have now seen the ‘under’ go 47-26, while Boston has seen the ‘under’ cash at a 43-30 pace.

The Don Best Sports injury report lists Montreal defenseman Alex Picard (foot) and center Jeff Halpern (lower body) as “questionable” for Saturday’s Game 2.

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