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Canadiens, Red Wings Will Continue To Vie For Position In East On Busy NHL Saturday

Posted by Don Melrose on 1/30/2015 8:14:27 PM

The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers have done their best to completely erase any idea of an Eastern Conference playoff race and while it might be a surprise to see any of the teams currently in the top-eight fail to make the postseason there is still a lot to decide in terms of the seeding. Here is a quick look at the four best NHL bets featuring Eastern Conference teams that are available for Saturday night.

Washington Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens

Saturday, 1:00 PM ET

The Canadiens open their Super Bowl weekend doubleheader when they host Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on Saturday with a chance to at least temporarily leapfrog the Tampa Bay Lightning in to the top spot in the Pacific division. Montreal has three games in hand on Tampa Bay and they can’t afford to let up with a shot to clinch first place in the Eastern Conference and home ice advantage for the playoffs. The Capitals will represent a tough test as they have clearly bought in to the system of head coach Barry Trotz. Washington has played a much more responsible game and they are in a postseason position because of it but they will be in tough to get a win in Montreal.

Pick: Montreal

New York Islanders @ Detroit Red Wings

Saturday, 2:00 PM ET

The Islanders have been among the surprise teams in the NHL this season and a former Canadiens netminder is a big reason for it. Jaroslav Halak has been excellent for New York while the offense has continued to progress with so many talented young forwards led by a healthy John Tavares. However, Detroit has been among the hottest teams in the NHL over the past couple of weeks with eight wins in their last 10 and they have secured at least a point in 22 of their first 26 home games. The Red Wings will test Halak early and often and as long as Petr Mrazek holds down the fort they should be able to secure a win at home. Mrazek has done an excellent job filling in for the injured Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson and just as important is the fact that the team in front of him has really stepped up during their recent hot streak.

Pick: Detroit

Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Rangers

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

The Rangers were the latest victims of Montreal’s strong play but the good news is that they have a strong buffer ahead of the teams below them in the standings and shouldn’t have any problem getting back on track at home this weekend. Only the Buffalo Sabres have fewer points than Carolina in the Eastern Conference and they will bring with them a brutal 6-16-3 record to MSG. New York is coming off consecutive losses but should get back in the win column with a convincing victory that could potentially push them ahead of the Capitals for third spot in the Metropolitan division if Montreal beats them earlier in the day.

Pick: New York

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