New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens Series Prediction and Preview
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- TopBet Writers’ 2017 NHL Mock Draft Projections
- 2017-18 NHL Season Early Stanley Cup Futures Odds
- Game 1: April 12, 7 p.m., at Montreal
- Game 2: April 14, 7 p.m., at Montreal
- Game 3: April 16, 7 p.m., at New York
- Game 4: April 18, 7 p.m., at New York
- *Game 5: April 20, TBD, at Montreal
- *Game 6: April 22, TBD, at New York
- *Game 7: April 24, TBD, at Montreal
Regular Season Head-to-Head
Their meetings in the regular season were dominated by the Canadiens, who swept the series 3-0. The combined score of their head-to-head this year is 11-7, which can be surprising when you consider that the Rangers are top four overall in scoring and the Canadiens are just decent at best.
Carey Price was Carey Price in those contests, while his goalie counterparts in the Rangers – Antii Raanta and Henrik Lundqvist – combined to go 74-for-85 (.870 save percentage).
Why the Rangers Will Win the Series (+125)
Offense is the Rangers’ best defense, as evidenced by ranking inside the top four in goals for and shooting percentage. If they execute on that area well enough and jump out with guns blazing, they have a great chance of finally cracking the Canadiens.
The Blueshirts’ four key scorers – Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Michael Grabner, and JT Miller – each scored 20 or more goals on the season, all of which are good, offense-minded players that can turn it up an cause problems for the defense.
Nash, Kreider, and Miller have also proven in the past that they are capable of beating Montreal in a playoff stage, so there should be hope that they can do this despite being the clear underdogs.
Why the Canadiens Will Win the Series (-145)
With that season series sweep, all signs are definitely pointing to the Canadiens easing past the Rangers. In fact, even if we eliminate those Ws, they would still be a good pick since they have better momentum, thanks to new coach Claude Julien energizing the team and guiding them to a 16-7-1 record since getting hired.
Julien and the Canadiens proved the saying “One’s trash is another’s treasure” too well this season, as the veteran coach was just days removed from getting fired by the Boston Bruins before he was hired.
Though certainly behind in terms of scoring firepower, their superiority on defense is much greater, and it should be enough to offset the gap.
The Habs are right in the middle in offense, as led by Max Pacioretty (35 G, 32 A), and on the elite level on defense – top four in goals against and save percentage. The Rangers, on the other hand, are great on offense and one of the worst in defense.
Highlighting Montreal’s renowned D is, of course, Carey Price, who just had a successful comeback year. He compiled a .920 save percentage in three games with the Rangers this season, and you can bet that his motivation and eagerness for this particular opponent is through the roof.
Price, as you may have remembered, got knocked out by the Rangers’ Kreider during Game 1 of 2014 Conference Finals, leaving him sidelined for the rest of that series.
The Canadiens (-130) will win the series, 4-1.
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