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Canadiens Look To Get Back On Track With Trip To New Jersey Tuesday

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/22/2013 7:21:03 PM

The Montreal Canadiens haven’t looked anything like a team in contention for a division title over the past two weeks. They don’t have much time to turn things around either. The Canadiens will visit the New Jersey Devils this Tuesday night, with the prospect of their worst five-game stretch of the season hanging over them. Montreal is 1-4-0 over that span, and has allowed five goals or more in each of the four losses. The Canadiens have already booked a playoff spot and aren’t at risk of falling out of contention, but they still have the Northeast division title to play for and need to build some sports betting momentum before the postseason arrives.

Montreal Canadiens @ New Jersey Devils
Tuesday April 23, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
NHL Sportsbook Line: Montreal – 130

There will be no talk of postseason in New Jersey this year after the defending Eastern Conference champions fell from Atlantic division contenders to a team that is destined to miss the playoffs thanks to a ridiculously awful 10-game losing streak that pushed them way down the ladder. The loss of Ilya Kovalchuk hurt, but that is no excuse for such an epic collapse following a strong start.

NHL Betting Preview: Montreal Canadiens

That four losses in which Montreal has allowed at least five goals has pushed them to 16th in the NHL in goals per game allowed, and while they still rank in the top-10 in scoring thanks in big part to the league’s fifth-ranked powerplay, the Canadiens need to find a way to keep the puck out of their own net. Carey Price has gone from Vezina candidate as one of the league’s best netminders to being out of the conversation thanks to a 2.59 goals against average and .905 save percentage, and he hit rock bottom after being pulled in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career. The Canadiens need to protect Price better until he gets out of this funk, but it is still on him to be better in goal.

NHL Betting Preview: New Jersey Devils

The loss of Kovalchuk was a devastating blow that the Devils just couldn’t get over, as the ripple effect it had on a team that had already lost Zach Parise to free agency was just too much. Patrik Elias has led New Jersey with 33 points in 44 games, but the offense has really dried up following Kovalchuk’s injury and the goaltending is not at a level where it can carry the team even with Martin Brodeur back healthy. The Devils will take the offseason to retool and figure out a way to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, but right now they will be in tough to finish strong with the league’s 26th-ranked offense thanks to no Kovalchuk.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

An online betting date with the Devils is perhaps the best thing for Montreal, as it looks to keep an offensively challenged team down while scoring an important two points. The Canadiens have shown how good they can be while challenging for a division title this season, but any chance of actually getting that top spot in the Northeast will come down to finishing strong.

NHL Betting Pick: Montreal Canadiens

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