Kings vs. Canadiens Preview
The Canadiens look to continue their outstanding play at home Wednesday night, while the Kings try to close out a four-game eastern swing with their first victory in Montreal in 11 years.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BroburySports.com have made the Canadiens -120 money line NHL odds favorites for Wednesday's game against the Kings. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 75% of more than 175 bets for this game have been placed on the Canadiens -120.
The Canadiens (13-7-1) led Philadelphia 2-0 on a pair of first-period goals from Maxim Lapierre on Monday, but yielded two scores in the third period and lost 3-2.
The defeat was Montreal's first in 10 games this season when leading after 40 minutes.
"We dominated the first period and it was the reverse in the second,'' said coach Jacques Martin, whose team was outshot by 20 in the final two periods. "They dominated the second and took some momentum away and the third period continued by just getting pucks in deep and outworking us in our zone.''
The Kings (13-7-0) have made a habit of late meltdowns, getting outscored 9-2 in the third period of their last four losses. Despite outshooting Ottawa 30-19, Los Angeles gave up two unanswered goals in the final 20:56 and fell 3-2 on Monday.
"(Closing out games is) something that we're definitely lacking right now, especially in the last four or five games,'' defenseman Matt Greene told the Kings' official website. "We're letting teams back in it. Last year we weren't. Killer instinct or whatever it is, I don't know what it is right now but it's just not working and we've got to find that part of our game.''
Kings coach Terry Murray, whose club has dropped four of five, said his team is still "trying to be a little cute through the middle of the ice." He feels Los Angeles' power play will improve after it converted just once - Ryan Smyth's second-period goal Monday - in 15 opportunities during the trip.
Los Angeles, though, will face a Canadiens team that leads the NHL in penalty killing at 90.8 percent.
The Kings, losers of four in a row in Montreal, will likely face Carey Price, who is tied with Boston's Tim Thomas with a league-high four shutouts.
Price has helped Montreal win four of five at the Bell Centre by posting three of those shutouts and a 1.00 GAA in that span.
He made 29 saves in the Kings' last visit, a 4-3 Montreal victory Jan. 31, 2009. The Canadiens rallied with two goals past Jonathan Quick in the final 1:57.
With Murray expected to give Quick a rest Wednesday, backup Jonathan Bernier will face Montreal for the first time. The native of nearby Laval, Quebec has a 3.77 GAA in four road starts this season.
Canadiens leading scorer Tomas Plekanec, held off the scoresheet in a season-high three straight games, has recorded a goal in his last two matchups with the Kings. The veteran center notched an empty-netter with 1:11 remaining in a 4-2 victory at Los Angeles on March 6.
That was Montreal's fifth win in a row in the series.Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar, who has four goals and seven assists in the last eight games, has scored twice in three career contests versus Montreal.
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