Ice picks: Friday's best NHL bets
Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers (-150, 5.5)
The Habs are hanging on to the final postseason ticket in the Eastern Conference with white knuckles. Montreal is sitting in eighth with just two points separating it from the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Canadiens have lost back-to-back games heading into Friday and have only one win in their past six games. Montreal’s offense has fallen flat in that stretch, scoring fewer than two goals per game. The Habs already have one of the worst scoring attacks in the NHL, ranked 24th in goals and 26th in shots per game.
"The guillotine's tightening," goaltender Carey Price told the Montreal Gazette. "It's a crunch time. Five games (to play). This is what makes it fun. It's always more fun to be in a race than to be sitting and watching this position."
It seems total bettors are the only ones having fun during this slump. Montreal’s offensive woes have led the team to play under the betting total in five of those six games. The Canadiens are 32-41 over/under this season.
Chicago Blackhawks at New Jersey Devils (-130, 5.5)
The Blackhawks were hoping to be picking up momentum at this time in the schedule – not snapping losing streaks.
Chicago put an end to a three-game slide with a 4-0 road win against the Minnesota Wild Wednesday night. That victory was just the team’s third win in the past 10 games, dropping the Stanley Cup sleeper to second in the Western Conference. If the young Blackhawks can build off this latest win, they can still make a run at the San Jose Sharks, who lead them by three points in the standings.
'We just got to continue to work,'' defenseman Brent Seabrook told the Chicago Sun-Times. ''I don't think we want to worry about a turning point or that things are going to be easy now. We just got to continue to work and continue to play hard and do the little things.''
Chicago owns back-to-back victories over the Devils, winning their first meeting of the season 5-1 back in December.