Montreal Canadiens (17-8-2) at Chicago Blackhawks (16-8-1)
|Date & Time||Friday December 5, 2014, 8:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -177 / Montreal Canadiens +161 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Canadiens head into Chicago on Friday night looking to get off on the right foot heading into the weekend while the Hawks look to make a statement against one of the best in the East.
The Montreal Canadiens as a franchise and community have been mourning the loss of one of the greats over the last few days as former Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau passed away and unfortunately the Habs couldn't honour Beliveau with a victory in their first game since the news but they can do so against a tough Hawks team on Friday night. Montreal has emerged as a force in the Eastern Conference as they are 17-8-2 and in second place in the Atlantic division but they know it's going to be a tough season as there are a ton of teams in their division worthy of playoff consideration and at the moment there is only 10 points separating first from fifth. The Habs will lean on Carey Price as they so often do and he will be going up against Antti Raanta who continues to fill in for the injured Corey Crawford. Montreal is 8-5-1 on the road this season while the Blackhawks are 8-3-1 at home and have a divisional show down on Saturday against the Nashville Predators.
The Blackhawks host their Original Six rivals on Friday night in what some people are considering a Stanley Cup preview as three points separate these two teams with Chicago holding two games in hand. The Hawks are a very good team but how far they will go will depend on the play of Raanta in the crease and in his small sample size over the last couple of seasons he has demonstrated he can carry the team and he will be doing his best to not only fill in for Corey Crawford but perhaps take over for good as the season moves along. The United Center is tough for any visitor to gain a victory and while the Canadiens are a very good team on the road I am just not sure they match up well here against a Blackhawks team that is stacked across the board and can beat you in a number of different ways. The value isn't there but I like Chicago in this one.