Chicago Blackhawks (29-8-9) at Montreal Canadiens (25-15-5)
|Date & Time||Saturday January 11, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens +124 / Chicago Blackhawks -136 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Blackhawks look for their 30th win of the season when they head into Montreal on Saturday while the Habs look to jump into second place in the Atlantic with a win.
The Blackhawks have been the class of the Western Conference all season and as the reigning Cup champions they have been atop the league standings for what seems like a season and a half. However, the continued surge of the St. Louis Blues and some lackluster efforts out of the Hawks of late has the Blues atop the league standings by virtue of a tiebreaker. The Hawks are certainly a force to be reckoned with and will be in the mix come playoff time and with the success this group had last year there is no way you can count them out of a possible repeat as Cup champs. The Hawks are tid for the league lead in terms of sending players to the Olympics but much like their divisional standing they hold that mark with the Blues. Corey Crawford will get the call for the Hawks here while Carey Price will counter for the Habs.
The Canadiens head into tonight’s game 12 points behind the Blackhawks in the league standings but are just three points back of the Bruins for top spot in the Atlantic and they can leapfrog the Lightning for second with a win. Montreal has been a tad inconsistent this season but Carey Price has been their rock since the puck dropped and will certainly be in consideration for the Vezina Trophy this season as he has been brilliant in the Montreal crease. The depth of the Canadiens forward unit does scare me as I think they need another piece to complement the core they have and until they do so I don’t see them being a huge threat in the Eastern Conference. The Bell Centre is a tough place to play and you rarely see the Habs as home dogs with Price starting but that’s what we get here. The Hawks however have lost five of their last 10 and seem to be susceptible and to me this is just too good of a price to pass up on with Montreal as home dogs.