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NHL picks: Back Penguins to solve Carey Price, defeat Canadiens

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August 5th, 2020

The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue tonight, inside the bubble cities of Toronto and Edmonton, with a number of key matchups.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens are tied 1-1 in their series, as are the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks, and the winners tonight can put their opponents on the ropes in their best-of-five qualifying-round series.

Here are the best bets for Wednesday’s games.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens

Thu, August 6 2020, 12:05 AM

Montreal Canadiens

Puck Line

+1.5

Moneyline

+145

Total

O 5.5

Pittsburgh Penguins

Puck Line

-1.5

Moneyline

-180

Total

U 5.5

Carey Price has been the best player on the ice in this series. The Canadiens goalie has been spectacular, and is really the reason why his team is not facing elimination. 

This was to be expected. Even after a bit of a down year, statistically, in 2019-2020, before the pandemic hit, Price has given his team every opportunity to remain competitive against the Penguins. He stole Game 1, as the Habs upset Pittsburgh in overtime, and he nearly did the same in Game 2. 

There are limitations to leaning so heavily on goaltending, however, and the Canadiens are about to learn that the hard way. Their offense likely isn’t capable of giving Price the type of support he needs, while the Penguins are stacked up front, with Sidney Crosby leading the way. Evgeni Malkin has peppered Price with 15 shots through two games, but doesn’t have a single point to show for his effort.

It’s only a matter of time before that changes. 

Expect the territorial advantage to continue for the Penguins in Game 3. They should be able to solve Price enough times to get the win and put the Habs on the brink of elimination. 

When — not if, but when — Malkin gets on the scoreboard, not even Price will be able to make up for the difference between these two teams.  

NHL free picks: Pittsburgh Penguins ML (-175), Evgeni Malkin to score anytime (+200)

Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Thu, August 6 2020, 2:35 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Puck Line

+1.5

Moneyline

+120

Total

O 6.5

Edmonton Oilers

Puck Line

-1.5

Moneyline

-145

Total

U 6.5

Defense has apparently been for the Oilers and Blackhawks, as these teams have combined for 19 goals through two games.

As a result, it is the only game on tonight’s menu with a total set at more than six goals.

Tonight’s total would’ve been obliterated in both Game 1 and Game 2, but this feverish scoring pace likely isn’t sustainable. These teams didn’t exactly light it up during the regular season. Both teams were in the middle of the pack in goals per game during the regular season and same for goals-against per game. 

Connor McDavid was electric for the Oilers in Game 2, when he recorded a hat trick and caused fits for the Blackhawks’ defenders with his superhuman speed. He left his mark on that game, and his ability to fly on the ice makes it difficult for any team to contain him. 

At this point in the series, however, both teams will likely make adjustments defensively to limit scoring chances . 

There should be some goals in this game tonight, and you may have to sweat the Under, but I believe these teams won’t trade goals like they did in the first two games.

NHL free pick: Under 6.5 (-115)


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