Montréal Canadiens at Boston Bruins (-175, 5.5)
Not only are the two best teams in the Eastern Conference facing off in this game, but head coaches Claude Julien and Guy Carbonneau also get to outwit one another before joining forces as head coach and assistant coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
The Habs have been on fire recently, winning their last four games and scoring a total of 23 goals during this time. Sergei Kostitsyn scored the go-ahead goal with 21.2 seconds remaining earned Montreal a 6-5 victory over the Washington Capitals Saturday night. They managed a total of three come-from-behind markers and racked up two power-play goals for the third consecutive game.
The resurgence is good news for a Habs team that had been struggling with their offensive special teams for the better part of the season’s first half.
“We’re working harder, supporting each other way more, getting a lot of traffic in front of the net and getting rebounds,” Tomas Plekanec told reporters when asked about the newly-successful power play. Plekanec has himself found his game with three goals and four assists in the past eight games.
Even though the Bruins have lost two of their last four games, they have won eight of their last 10 and cruised past the Carolina Hurricanes in a 5-1 win Saturday.
Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks (-370, 5.5)
It’s been a dismal year so far for the Tampa Bay Lightning and to make matters worse, trade rumors involving franchise-player Vincent Lecavalier keep plaguing the team.
Speculations involve Lecavalier going to Montréal in exchange for as many as four players including Chris Higgins and possibly Tomas Plekanec along with a prospect such as PK Subban of the Belleville Bulls, according to TSN.ca. The Lightning’s front office isn’t in agreement on this topic, some wanting Lecavalier gone, others wishing he would stay.
The way the Lightning have been playing, it’s obvious something needs to change. They hold one of the worst records in the Eastern Conference and have the third worst offense in the league scoring a meager 2.41 goals a game.
The Sharks, on the other hand, have an elite offense, defense and power play. The best team in the NHL collected a big 4-2 win on Saturday against a fired up Vancouver team led by the newly-acquired Mats Sundin.