NHL Odds: Canadiens, Bruins hit the ice again

By: Adam Markowitz | Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Tomas Plekanec

Tomas Plekanec and the Habs own a recent 8-1 mark over the Bruins entering Wednesday.

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have already gotten quite familiar with one another, meeting three times this season.

The Habs have swept the series to date, but Boston is out to get its revenge in a Wednesday night NHL betting battle from TD Garden in Beantown. The puck drops at 4:00 p.m. (PT) in this one.

The B's hold a slender two-point lead over the Canadiens in the Northeast Division standings coming into this battle, and even just one point would be good enough to hold the lead for the time being. Montreal will be behind in games played regardless, keeping Boston in the driver's seat, though at some point the Bruins have to win a game in this series to ensure victory in this division this year.

It's never really all that flashy when the Canadiens get on the ice. There just aren't a ton of stars on this squad, especially with the team's second-leading scorer, Michael Cammalleri, out of the fold with a shoulder injury. Tomas Plekanec is the only healthy player on the team with even 30 points this year, and if Cammalleri is out too much longer, Plekanec will be the only one on a clip for even 50 points this year.

In fact, whereas most teams either have a slew of players that have at least 10 goals this season or a few stars that are in the 20s, Montreal only has four healthy double-digit goal scorers. Brian Gionta paces them all with 19, scoring four goals since January 21.

In net, Carey Price is one of the best in the biz. He has played in 48 of the 54 games this year for Montreal and is sure to be the man in the pipes when this one drops the puck on Wednesday. Price is 26-17-5 with a 2.32 GAA and a .922 save percentage this year.

Unfortunately for Price, he is going to be running up against Tim Thomas, the man that is clearly the frontrunner right now for the Vezina Trophy. Thomas is 25-6-6 this year with a 1.80 GAA and a .945 save percentage, but he has to be shaken that two of those 12 losses have come against these Canadiens.

Thomas hasn't given up more than two goals in an outing in seven straight, and the last team to beat him in a game in which the B's didn't get shut out was none other than these Canadiens on January 8.

The news that Marc Savard (concussion) was shut down for the season had to really sting the Bruins. With Savard out of the picture, the team has only averaged 2.2 GPG in five games, two of which ended in Boston getting blanked.

Still, this is a team that comes into this one ranking No. 1 in the NHL in shot production at 33.9 per game, and No. 6 in scoring at 3.0 GPG.

The domination for the Canadiens in this rivalry has been nothing short of amazing. Since the 2009 playoffs when Boston shocked the Habs in the first round as the No. 8 seed, Montreal has fired back, going 8-1 over the course of the last nine games.

The Canadiens are also 36-17 in their last 53 meetings with their divisional rivals from Beantown as well. Boston hasn't beaten its adversaries here at the Garden since that playoff series of 2009.

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