Montreal tries to rediscover its Grade A game
After a brief lull, are the Canadiens ready to resume their dominance of the Atlantic Division?
The events of the past week certainly suggest as much. Claude Julien’s bunch carries a two-game winning streak into tonight’s big Eastern Conference bout vs. Columbus. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Montreal odds of -115 to take care of business at home. The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, enter Bell Centre as -105 underdogs.
With a pedestrian record since the All-Star break, the Habs have by no means been invincible so far in 2017. Yet Monday’s victory over New Jersey featured many of classic Montreal characteristics. Max Pacioretty scored twice in the 4-3 overtime verdict, while Carey Price provided stellar goaltending down the stretch.
John Tortorella’s troops also own back-to-back wins. Fourteen different skaters notched points in Columbus’ last two contests, with Cam Atkinson once again factoring heavily into the equation. The forward now is one tally short of reaching the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career.
One can guarantee that the Blue Jackets will want to make their lone trip to Montreal a memorable one. Nonetheless, the host squad possesses the horses to subdue the upstarts from Ohio. Bank on the more veteran-laden organization in this spot.
TUESDAY NHL FREE PICK: CANADIENS -1.5