Montreal Canadiens at Pittsburgh Penguins - 8/1/20 NHL Picks and Prediction
Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Montreal Canadiens (31-31-9) at Pittsburgh Penguins (40-23-6)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 8:00 pm (Scotiabank Arena)
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -165 / Montreal Canadiens +145 --- Over/Under: 5.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins meet in game one of their best-of-five qualifying round series in NHL action from Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night.
The Montreal Canadiens come into the postseason as the #12 seed in the Eastern Conference, sitting on 71 points with a record of 31-31-9 and a points percentage of .500 this season. It was an unconventional way of doing it, but the Habs made the postseason for the first time since 2016-17. Tomas Tatar leads the Habs with 61 points, including a team-high 39 assists while Brendan Gallagher shared the team lead with 22 goals of his own and Phillip Danault has 34 assists for Montreal in the regular season. Carey Price saw the bulk of the action in goal, posting a 27-25-6 record with a .909 save percentage and a 2.79 GAA in the regular season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins on the other hand, sit in 5th place on 86 points with a record of 40-23-6 and a points percentage of .623 this season. The solid mark in the regular season ensured playoff hockey in the Steel City for the 14th straight season. Evgeni Malkin led the Pens in points with 74 points including a team-high 49 assists as well as 25 goals while Bryan Rust has 58 points with a team-high 27 goals Sidney Crosby had a frustrating campaign dealing with injuries, posting 16 goals and 31 assists in just 41 games in uniform. Tristan Jarry and Matt Murray shared the time in goal, with Jarry owning a 20-12-1 record with a 2.43 GAA and Murray boasting a mark of 20-11-5 with a 2.87 GAA and an .899 save percentage this season.
Montreal is 4-10 in their last 14 games overall and 2-7 in their last 9 games as an underdog while the over is 4-0 in their last 4 games against the Metropolitan division. Pittsburgh is 5-2 in their last 7 games against the Atlantic division and 3-8 in their last 11 games overall while the over is 6-0-1 in their last 7 games against the Eastern Conference. Montreal is 3-8 in the last 11 meetings between these two teams.
A lot of what I’m hearing about this series is that Montreal only really has a chance if Carey Price stands on his head and single-handedly steals a game, and while he has that potential, I don’t think it’s all about him on the squad. With that said, the Habs hear this and I think they’re going to come out physical and try to set the tone with Pittsburgh early. On the other hand, I think Pittsburgh will try to enforce their dominance over the Canadiens early as well. In the end, I envision this game going the same way the first three meetings went this season and that’s a low-scoring, grind it out type of game. Give me the under in this spot.