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NHL Betting: Picks For The First Saturday Of The Season

Posted by Don Melrose on 10/11/2014 1:29:28 AM

The 2014-15 NHL season is underway and while they have only played a couple of games the Montreal Canadiens have shown why they are considered one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference with consecutive wins to open the year. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators each opened the season with a loss and both teams will have a tough time getting back on track with difficult match ups this weekend.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

The Maple Leafs scored the tying goal with just over two minutes left in regulation against Montreal only to allow the game winner less than two minutes after that in a 4-3 loss where fans saw many old habits creep back in to their game. Toronto has plenty of offensive talent up front where Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk, and Nazem Kadri lead the way but they will have to work hard to correct the mistakes they continue to make in their own end with giveaways and soft defensive zone coverage. It certainly won’t get any easier with Sidney Crosby and the high-scoring Penguins in town on Saturday. Pittsburgh scored six goals against a defensively sound Anaheim Ducks’ team in a 6-4 win on Thursday and if they play with that same offensive jump and urgency in this game they should come out on top.

Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins

Montreal Canadiens @ Philadelphia Flyers

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

Montreal was outshot 14-0 to open the game and 15-2 in the first period against the Washington Capitals on Thursday but Dustin Tokarski picked up from where he left off in last year’s playoffs and the Canadiens rallied for a 2-1 shootout win. Montreal has gotten contributions from all four lines and the second trio of Tomas Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brendan Gallagher in particular looking good early on. Plekanec already has three goals while the kids have had plenty of opportunities as a compliment to Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, and PA Parenteau on the top line. The Flyers found their scoring touch against the New Jersey Devils with four goals but also allowed six for their second loss in as many games to open the year. Philadelphia is off to another slow start and they could be in trouble against a deep Montreal team that has played them well.

Pick: Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa Senators @ Tampa Bay Lightning

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

The Senators opener their season with a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators and will be in tough to bounce back against a Tampa Bay team that has the potential to do big things in the Eastern Conference this season now that Steven Stamkos is back healthy. Stamkos leads an explosive offense up front while the defense is deeper this year and Ben Bishop is one of the league’s emerging goaltenders. Bishop will be motivated to have a big performance against the team that traded him to the Lightning and should be able to secure a win in another favorable match up for Tampa Bay.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

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