Yet another edition of Ice Picks was split right down the middle last week. The Montreal Canadiens took care of business again at home versus the Calgary Flames. We missed the clean sweep as the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks fell short of the posted over total of six. It should be noted that Colorado completely owned the Sharks in the 3-0 victory. They registered a season-high 14 danger chances in the contest. On to another week and another slate. Tonight, we are looking at a couple of favorites to get the job done. Let’s get into some Ice Picks.
Season record: 7-5
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Vancouver Canucks at Montreal Canadiens ML-185
Montreal has been running on all cylinders for the majority of the season until a slight hiccup this past Saturday night at home against the Calgary Flames. Montreal fell short 2-0 in the contest but the advanced data suggests that they were the better team. They were good for a season-high 17 high-danger chances while giving up just four. Montreal was well-rested going into their home tilt last night in game one of two straight versus the Vancouver Canucks. Before last night they had already dismantled the Canucks two out of three times. In those games, the Canadiens went off for 17 goals while allowing 11. update-Make it three out of four as the Habs rolled over Vancouver yet again, this time 6-2.
Vancouver had managed to turn around their season after starting out at just 2-and-5. They have now pulled off four straight victories heading into Monday night. However, three of the wins have come against the brutal Ottawa Senators. Of the 11 games to date, the Canucks have been out-chanced by their opponent in all but just three games. Their season-long shots per game allowed mark of 35.9 ranks dead last in the NHL. Vancouver goes into game two with a putrid 1-7 record at the Bell Center in their last eight games.
Despite there being some value in backing the dog here, Vancouver still has way too much work to do to get on the same level as Montreal. Expect the Canucks to be way more competitive in this second of a back-to-back. Don’t get cute here, keep hammering in on Montreal here at home.
Pick: Montreal ML-185
Carolina Hurricanes ML-185 at Chicago Blackhawks
First off, kudos has to go out to goaltender Kevin Lankinen and the Chicago Blackhawks. Lankinen seems to have taken the number one goalie position. He has somehow gone 3-1-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average. The Hawks have to be very thankful for the rookie to step up here. Goaltending is arguably the biggest question mark for this very thin roster. The numbers are very promising, however, we can’t discount the fact that two of the victories are against the woeful Detroit Red Wings.
Outside of the improved goaltending, there isn’t much to like with Chicago. Patrick Kane has been productive, with four goals and six assists in 10 games. If you shut down or neutralize Kane, the Hawks will be hard-pressed to get the job done. The list of NHL-caliber players on the injured or COVID list is a long one. Already down Jonathan Toews, Alex Nylander, and Kirby Dach, they will now be missing Ryan Carpenter, Lucas Wallmark, Adam Boqvist, Alex DeBrincat, and Brent Seabrook.
The Canes are finally playing after the ten-day layoff due to a COVID outbreak between January 18th and 28th. Carolina is playing as expected. They grabbed a nice 1-0 victory over the defending Cup champ Tampa Bay Lightning. They also just recently split two games against the 2019-2020 runner up Dallas Stars.
With a very depleted Blackhawks lineup, we want to take the clear favorite here. If it weren’t for the uninspiring Hawks offense we could also take a look at the over as a Cane’s offensive explosion is totally in play. Instead, take the free square and back the Hurricanes on the money line.
Pick: Carolina ML-185
Follow Joel Dorcas on Twitter @Joel_Dorcas6
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