Ice picks: Monday's best NHL bets

Minnesota at Edmonton (+110, 5)

The Edmonton Oilers are playing their most consistent hockey of the season - they just hope they have enough time to claim a playoff spot.

The Oilers will be trying to inch closer to postseason position on Monday when they host the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild.

Edmonton (38-33-5) has won 11 of its last 14 games, including Saturday's 7-5 victory over Colorado. The Oilers are in last place in the Northwest, but have moved within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Sam Gagner scored twice on Saturday as Edmonton won despite blowing a three-goal lead heading into the third period.

"I'm down to my last nerve,'' coach Craig MacTavish said. "It wasn't easy. It should have been a lot easier than it was. We had a great start and then we lacked a little composure in those key situations. Perhaps the youthfulness comes into play. The good thing is that we are getting the experience and still winning the games.''

The Oilers scored at least seven goals for the second time in three games, including an 8-4 win over Phoenix on Tuesday, and bounced back from Thursday's 4-1 loss to Vancouver. Not counting shootout goals, Edmonton has averaged 3.57 goals during its 14-game run.

For the season, the Oilers are scoring just 2.68 goals per game.

"We had two great periods, scored a lot of goals and then the first 10 of the third they scored three right away and had the momentum," Marc Pouliot, who had a goal and an assist, told the Oilers' official team Web site. "It was a high scoring game, but we'll take it for sure."

Pick: Oilers

Ottawa at Montreal (-135, 6)

The Montreal Canadiens have been dominated virtually all season when they've faced the Ottawa Senators.

But the Senators would gladly trade that success for the Canadiens' spot in the Northeast Division.

Montreal looks to move one step closer to its first division title since 1991-92 when it hosts second-place Ottawa on Monday.

The competition between the Eastern Conference-leading Canadiens (42-24-10) and the Senators (41-27-7) has been extremely tight at the top of the division over the past few months, with Montreal's current five-point lead its largest advantage of the season.

But when the teams have faced each other on the ice, it's been Ottawa that has enjoyed a decided advantage. The Senators have won five of the six meetings this season and eight of the last nine overall. They've outscored the Canadiens 9-1 in their two most recent games, including a 3-0 victory at the Bell Centre on March 13.

That victory was the Senators' third straight and tied the teams atop the division, but Ottawa has since lost two of three while Montreal has gone 3-0-1.

The Senators held a 4-3 lead at home against Toronto on Saturday night heading into the third period, but gave up two goals in 41 seconds on their way to a 5-4 loss.

"We know we can play better," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who scored his 38th goal. "If we want to win down the stretch and in the playoffs we can't give up goals like that."

The line of Spezza centering Alfredsson and Dany Heatley has been the NHL's most productive this season, combining for 106 goals. But the trio hasn't played any better than when they've faced the Canadiens.

Spezza has seven goals, Alfredsson four and Heatley three against Montreal in only five games apiece, and they've combined for 36 points.

"They're probably one of the best lines in the NHL," Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said after watching that line score every Senators goal in a 6-1 loss on Feb. 9.

Price has lost both of his starts against Ottawa this season, but the rookie has been playing well lately as Montreal has taken control of the division. He's 4-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average in his last six starts.

The comfort of home ice has made a big difference recently for Price. He's 4-1-0 with a 1.38 GAA in his last five starts in Montreal, compared to 2-2-0 with a 3.26 GAA in four road starts this month.

Pick: Senators

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Posted by kcbettor
6 years ago

Unit, Thanks for your NHL help. I just went ML on the pens. Oh well sometimes I cant believe this sh_at . Celtics lost too. Were at home, coming off a road loss on Sat, had 2 days rest against a 35 loss team had only lost 5 allyear at home . Have the largest margin of victory in the league , play great D, etc etc. Maybe next time...
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Posted by groceryman
6 years ago

comon colorado
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Posted by heinmanIam
6 years ago

friggin Isles.....wow. Just saw score when I walked in. G...whats this milkshake stuff??...lol Glad I put Isle in sh---t parlay....might be the one that hits if COL pulls it out
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

Check that; their game against the Devs was in Pittsburgh . . . hmm, I may have f_cked myself here :-)
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Posted by Parlays2Win
6 years ago

I guess Islanders heard us, they are up 3-1 after 2nd. Hoping for a big comeback from Pens in the 3rd. Lets GO!
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

The Pens scored 5 goals in the third period of their game in New Jersey; hopefully an encore performance is shortly forthcoming. BOL the rest of the way y'all. Cheers.
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

The Pens are playing to clinch a play off spot here. Time to wake up Pittsburgh . . .
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Posted by 6king
6 years ago

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Posted by jbrew
6 years ago

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Posted by Metivier
6 years ago

awww.. i waited too long on this one.. the oil line had climbed over night to +120.. was waiting to see if it went any higher.. unfortunately it has come back down ... regradless ill still take the oilers at +105
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

To win my bet, 'yes', I would need the Pens to win by at least 2 goals KC. The Isles are fierce thus far. I'm hopeful the officiated won't skew this game any further. Let 'em play!! HELL YA, HABS!! SHOW ME SOMETHIN'!!
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Posted by kcbettor
6 years ago

So you need pitt to win by 2 ?
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Posted by kcbettor
6 years ago

oops, crossed up in cyberspace. Thx Unit
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Posted by kcbettor
6 years ago

whats PL?
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

Correct KC - PL = -/+ 1.5 pts (dependent upon which team is the favorite/underdog. Pens . . . score :-) :-) :-)
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

Isles score first . . . wonderful . . . lol
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Posted by kcbettor
6 years ago

Thanks brudda. I dont know what the PL is on my site . Is it the -1 1/2 for pitt?
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

KC - With Crosby out of the line-up, the Pens have been putting up some lofty offensive numbers. Malkin is chasing Ovechkin, for most points in the NHL and the whole Pens team is still vying for top stop in the Eastern Conference. Sure it's *possible* that the Isles come out and put one down on the Pens. Anything is possible, however. It's "possible" that monkeys might fly out of my butt. lol Anyway, I probably just jinx myself with that comment. My chips have alread been placed. I am heavily on the PIT (PL). The Isles are injured and look to be down for the count. Nothing is a lock. Hopefully them Isles are content to just play this one out and not play the picnic spoilers. BOL Cheers.
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

I DRINK IT UP!!!!!!
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Posted by kcbettor
6 years ago

Unit, I want Pitt ML. Is it poss they have any trouble winning outright? thanks
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

OTT just lost to a Sundin-less Leafs team. I got love for Toronto, but let's be honest, "dominant" teams just don't allow losses on their home ice like that (yes, there is the rivalry factor to consider, but still . . . NO Sundin!?!?).
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

The Isles just got whooped last night by the Flyers. If New York is able to keep this final score within a goal, then I'm going to feel very foolish [loading up on PIT (PL) right now]. BOL Gentlemen.
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

Backstrom is undefeated against the Oilers . . . so . . . just something to consider for those whom are *wild* about the Wild in tonight's match-up.
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Posted by henrylazarde
6 years ago

I like Pittsburgh under 5.5, and Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary to win their matches. Good luck.
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Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

This is the first game of a home 'n' home; perhaps MIN can best EDM in round two of this back-to-back match.
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Top Response

Posted by Unit_G
6 years ago

"You know, the Sens just met up with the Habs, and handed their as$es to them . . . however, I'm still not sold on the Sens tonight. The Habs will be out for revenge. Kovalev has been hot. Will Komiserek be missed that greatly (presuming he'll stil..."