Montreal Canadiens (27-17-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (34-13-2)
|Date & Time||Wednesday January 22, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -186 / Montreal Canadiens +169 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Canadiens and Penguins do battle in Pittsburgh as the home side looks to distance itself from the pack for top spot in the Conference while the visitors have their sights set on top spot in the Atlantic.
The Canadiens head into Pittsburgh on Wednesday night looking to get back in the win column but things won’t be easy as they have to deal with the Eastern Conference leading Penguins who are coming off a very sloppy loss at home against the lowly Panthers. Montreal has had success against Sidney Crosby throughout his career and future Olympic teammates Crosby, Chris Kunitz, PK Subban, and Carey Price will spotlight a star studded affair that should leave audiences ecstatic. Montreal is built from the crease out as Price is one of the best goalies in the world and when he is on it is tough to get past the Habs as they feed off of Price’s energy and it usually results in a counter attack the other way. Montreal will need to be on point in this one especially in the defensive zone as the Pens are loaded with offensive talent and as mentioned they’re coming off a lackluster effort in front of their home fans.
The Penguins remain in top spot in the Eastern Conference despite losing their second contest of the year to the Panthers in what was probably their worst game of the season. The Penguins sit five points up on the Bruins for the Conference perch and they know the other black and yellow are coming fast and furious and if they want the luxury of playing at home throughout the postseason they’ll have to right the ship and get back to playing the way we have all come to expect of them. Sidney Crosby is the leading candidate to win the Art Ross and Hart Trophies for his efforts this season and with the Olympic break fast approaching you can be sure he would love to get his Penguins focused on the big prize so that once the Olympics are over they’re ready to make a push into the postseason. The Penguins are pretty heavy favourites in this spot and while I think the Canadiens are a better team than the line indicates I just don’t see them losing back to back contests on home ice. I am taking Pittsburgh to win in regulation in what is a fairly confident play.