Tuesday NHL odds: Montreal Canadiens at Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins look like the class of the Eastern Conference and are on an NHL-best 12-game winning streak heading into Tuesday’s game against Montreal, the team with the second-most points in the conference.
Pittsburgh isn’t resting on its laurels. It traded for winger Brandon Morrow over the weekend. Penguins Coach Dan Blysma said Sunday night that Morrow, acquired from the Dallas Stars before a 2-1 overtime home win over Philadelphia, will skate on the No. 2 line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. General manager Ray Shero described Morrow as a “complementary piece” to a nucleus that includes the NHL’s highest scoring top line, anchored by captain Sidney Crosby; and Malkin, the MVP last season and a two-time scoring champion; Neal, a 40-goal man last season; defenseman Kris Letang, a Norris Trophy contender; and Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads the league with 17 victories. Morrow has 11 points this year.
The Penguins are trying to win the Stanley Cup, but they have lost to lower-seeded opponents every postseason since winning the championship in 2009. Morrow has never won the Cup. His debut with the Stars came the year after their lone title, and they lost in the Final to cap that 2000 season. He should debut in this game. The Pens made another move Monday, acquiring veteran defenseman Douglas Murray from San Jose for two draft picks. In return, the Sharks get a pair of second-round picks (2013 and 2014). In Murray, the Penguins get a hard-nosed, physical blue-liner who is an excellent penalty killer.
Pittsburgh has won 12 straight games heading into Tuesday night’s showdown with surprising Montreal but is playing without Letang, who remains day to day with a lower-body injury. Also out for now is Malkin with an upper body injury. He could be back later this week. The Pens beat the Flyers 2-1 in overtime Sunday. Sidney Crosby tied things late in regulation with a 5-on-3 power-play goal and Tyler Kennedy won it with his fifth goal of the season, a wrist shot from the left circle.
Montreal lost 2-1 to Buffalo on Saturday. Michael Ryder scored the lone goal for Montreal, and Carey Price made 16 saves. Montreal outshot Buffalo 39-18, getting double-digit shots in each period — including 16 in the third. Montreal claimed C Jeff Halpern off waivers from the New York Rangers on Saturday. He didn’t arrive in Montreal in time for the game.
The Penguins haven’t won 13 in a row since a franchise-record 17-game run March 9-April 10, 1993. Fleury, who has a 0.74 GAA while winning his last four starts, may be in net again for Pittsburgh. He’s 3-0-1 with a 2.38 GAA in his last four starts in this series. The Habs’ Price is 1-1-2 with a 3.90 goals-against average in his last four starts versus the Penguins.
WagerWeb.com trends: Canadiens are 4-0 in their last 4 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game. Canadiens are 5-0 in their last 5 road games. Canadiens are 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game. Over is 3-0-1 in the last 4 meetings. Under is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Pittsburgh. Canadiens are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings.