Phoenix Coyotes (18-9-5) at Montreal Canadiens (20-12-3)
|Date & Time||Tuesday December 17, 2013, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -126 / Phoenix Coyotes +114 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Coyotes head into Montreal on Tuesday night looking to shake off a loss while the home town Canadiens attempt to chase down the Bruins.
The Coyotes remain one of the better teams in the league despite playing mediocre hockey in their last 10 contests in which they have a 4-5-1 mark including a loss in their last outing. Phoenix is one of those teams that quietly puts together an impressive season while flying under the radar until the playoffs and then they pull off one or two series victories before anyone can blink and so far this season that is exactly what they have done. They don’t have the flashiest team but have a lot of solid, role player type guys in the lineup with great goaltending and a one of the better defensive units in hockey and they’ll look to spoil the party at the Bell Centre in Montreal tonight. Mike Smith has been the anchor for the Coyotes over the last few seasons and this year is no different as he looks for his 15th victory of the season on Tuesday as he goes up against Carey Price for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens continue to plug away in the Eastern Conference as they currently sit in 2nd place in the Atlantic division and third place overall in what has been an underwhelming race compared to the West yet perfectly fine for the Canadiens and their fans. Montreal is a team much like the Coyotes that have a solid base of talent with a strong presence in goal as Carey Price is the early front runner for the league’s top goaltending honour as he is putting up ridiculous stats in the Montreal crease and he will be searching for his 16th win of the year tonight. The Habs are led by a young forward crop that includes Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, and Alex Galchenyuk but also have a ton of support from the blue line with PK Subban and Alexei Emelin providing a presence from the defensive end as well. This is a very tight contest and one that not a lot of people will be looking at as it is the Coyotes but I do think they will give the Canadiens a scare here. Phoenix is just two points back of Montreal in the standings but has played three few games and I think in these spots is where they play their best. I’m leaning towards the Coyotes in this spot.