Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens Free Prediction

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Bell Centre is the site for an Eastern Conference showdown as the Pittsburgh Penguins come into town to face the Montreal Canadiens. The opening face-off takes place at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 15, and you will be able to view it live on NBC Sports Network.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens Odds

Pittsburgh (-200) is currently favored over Montreal (+170), and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at an even 6 goals (-115 for the over, -105 for the under).

Pittsburgh is 40-31 straight up (SU) and has earned 1.2 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 71 regular season contests, 38 of its games have gone over the total, while 30 have gone under and just two have pushed. The Pens are 14-22 SU on the road in 2017-18.

Pittsburgh currently touts the second-best power-play unit in the NHL, as it’s found the net on 25.6 percent of its extra-man chances this season. Its penalty kill is ranked 16th overall, and it has successfully killed off 80.7 percent of all penalties.

The Pens, as a collective unit, have been penalized 4.0 times per game overall in the 2017-18 season, and 4.8 per game over its last five on the road. The team’s been forced to defend opponent power plays just 7.2 minutes per game over their last five outings.

With a .909 save percentage and 25.7 saves per game, Matt Murray (25-16-2) has been the primary option in goal for Pittsburgh this year. If it decides to rest him, however, Pittsburgh might go with Tristan Jarry (14-11-2 record, .910 save percentage, 2.76 goals against average).

Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel will both lead the way for the visiting Penguins. Malkin has 87 points via 39 goals and 48 assists, and has recorded multiple points in 23 different games. Kessel has 28 goals and 50 assists to his credit (and has registered at least one point in 49 games).

On the other side of the ice, Montreal is 26-44 straight up (SU) and has lost 20.9 units for moneyline bettors thus far. 38 of its outings have gone under the total, while 30 have gone over and just two have pushed. It’s 17-18 SU at home this season.

The Canadiens have converted on just 20.9 percent of their power play chances this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 29th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 75.7 percent of all penalties.

Montreal players have been sent to the penalty box 3.8 times per game in total this season, and 5.0 per game over their last five home outings. The team has been forced to kill penalties 11.8 minutes per game over their last five home outings.

Carey Price has stopped 27.3 shots per game as the primary selection in goal for the Canadiens. Price has 15 wins, 28 losses, and six OT losses to his name and has recorded a subpar .904 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average this season.

Brendan Gallagher (26 goals, 17 assists) will lead the attack for the Habs.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens Free Picks

Free NHL Pick: SU Winner – Canadiens, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • Three of Montreal’s last ten games have gone to a shootout. The team is 0-3 in those games and 2-6 overall in shootouts this year.
  • The total has gone over in three of Montreal’s last five outings.
  • This game features two offenses that shoot the puck early and often. Pittsburgh has registered the league’s third-most shots on goal (34.3) and Montreal has attempted the ninth-most (33.5).
  • This game features two of the more aggressive defenses in the league. Pittsburgh skaters have given out the league’s seventh-most hits per game (23.9) while the Habs have handed the second-most (25.7).