Free Hockey Picks: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins Game 1 Preview 4/14/11
You’re not going to find two teams that hate each other more in these playoffs right now than the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. These two have played some brutal games this season, and they are going to be going at it for potentially seven more games over these next two and change weeks, starting on Thursday night in Beantown.
The Canadiens are the real deal this year, but their offense is incredibly questionable. Tomas Plekanec is really the leader of the team, while men like Brian Gionta just really don’t seem to have it the same way that they have in years past. Instead, there is a ton of pressure on Carey Price, a man that has had some good, some bad, and some absolutely ugly against the B’s this season. Price was run in his most recent clash against the Bruins, allowing five goals in an ugly 7-0 loss on the road, and he also allowed eight goals in a terrible loss here in Beantown back in February. In that game, he slugged it out with Boston net minder, Tim Thomas. However, Price has also held the Bruins down to just seven goals in the other four meetings against them, and if he can put up that type of an effort once again, the Habs could be destined for some more magic in the near future, just like last season when they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals as the No. 8 seed.
Many are making their playoff hockey picks on the Bruins to win it all this year due to the fact that Tim Thomas is an absolutely amazing keeper. Thomas broke the all-time record for highest save percentage in a regular season at .938, and because of that, he is sure to be winning the Vezina Trophy. Sure, he didn’t play all that well against Montreal this season, but when push comes to shove, we are confident that he is going to be able to show up in force in this series. The difference between the Bruins and the Canadiens is that the men hosting these first two games have an offense that really can be lethal. No, there really aren’t any particular scorers that knock your socks off, but Boston has come together to average right at 3.0 goals per game on the season, ranking No. 5 in the league. Gus like David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Patrice Bergeron had great seasons, and as always, we have to keep an eye on arguably the best defenseman in the league in Zdeno Chara on both ends of the ice.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins Pick: Game 1 will go to the hosts in this one. Thomas is just too strong, and he was absolutely phenomenal at home this season. He’s got a long memory for what the Canadiens have done to him, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the end result was a shutout for Thomas. Back the Bruins -180.