NHL Odds: Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens
By: Brad Young
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Boston and Montreal continue their first-round series where the home ice has been a disadvantage.
The sixth-seeded Canadiens quickly took a 2-0 series lead on enemy ice, and figured on having a stranglehold against their Northeast Division rivals. However, the Bruins fought back with a Game 3 road triumph and can even this series at two with a victory in this spot.
Boston finished seven points ahead of Montreal in the regular-season standings, and grabbed the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
Don Best's Real-Time Odds show the Bruins as slight 120-road ‘chalk’ over the Canadiens, with the total set at five. Versus will provide coverage of Thursday’s Game 4 beginning at 4:00 p.m. (PT) from Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Boston got back on the winning track with Monday’s victory as a 118-road favorite, 4-2, avoiding a possible playoff sweep. The combined six goals went ‘over’ the five-goal closing total, ending a string of back-to-back ‘under’ outings.
The Bruins jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period when David Drejci and Nathan Horton lit the lamp. Rich Peverley scored in the second period, while Chris Kelly iced the game by scoring an empty-net goal with 25.6 seconds remaining in the game. Goaltender Tim Thomas stonewalled 34 shots between the pipes.
Montreal chipped away at the 3-0 deficit when Andrei Kostitsyn scored in the second period, and got to within a goal when Tomas Plekanec scored early in the third. Goalie Carey Price recorded 21 saves in the setback after stopping 65 of 66 shots the first two wins in this series. The Habs finished the contest with an advantage in shots on goal, 36-25, but trailed the Bruins in faceoffs won, 27-22.
The road team has won all three games in this series, but the home team won the previous five meetings in this rivalry. The Canadiens are now 11-4 their past 15 games against Boston, and 21-8 when playing in Montreal.
The Habs stunned the Bruins with a Game 1 victory last Thursday as a 172 road underdog, 2-0. Montreal followed that effort with Saturday’s Game 2 triumph as a 173 road ‘dog, 3-1. Both of those matchups failed to eclipse the five-goal closing total.
Boston defenseman Steven Kampfer (knee injury) is expected to miss the entire first-round series versus the Habs. Montreal left wing Max Pacioretty is also expected to miss the entire first-round series due to a concussion, while center Jeff Halpern (lower body) is ‘doubtful’ for Thursday’s matchup.
Boston was mired in a six-game playoff losing streak before recording Monday’s victory. The Bruins had a 3-0 series lead over Philadelphia last year before dropping the next four games.
Montreal has lost its previous two playoff series when winning the first two games on the road. The Habs fell to Carolina in six games back in the 2006 playoffs, and also lost to the New York Rangers in six games back in 1996.