by Kevin Stott | Predators at Red Wings (-270, LVH) (Versus TV): Even though Detroit tore it up this season and has two of the top three goalies in goals against average in Osgood (2.09) and Hasek (2.14), the price (-270), is just too out of whack for the reality on how these two teams are playing at this point in time. Although the Predators were 1-3 at Joe Louis this season, all three losses were by just one goal and the mighty Red Wings only outscored Nashville, 21-19 (5-3 series) this campaign.
The President’s Trophy winners have plenty of offense with
Zetterberg, Datsuk and Lidstrom but the Boys from Music City counter with their
own offensive skill studs in Arnott (72 points), Dumont (72), Radulov (58) and
Erat (57). Toss in a couple of decent netminders in Ellis (2.34 GAA) and Mason
(2.90) and a strong finish (6-3-1) to even make the playoffs and you’re
looking at a team who actually has a bit more momentum and so much more to gain
if they can steal the home-ice advantage in this opener. PREDATORS.
Bruins at Canadiens (-200): Montreal steamrolled the Bruins this season, going a perfect 8-0 while outscoring the B’s, 38-16, which was a big part of the reason Les Habs edged the Penguins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference on the last day of the season. Rookie Montreal goalie Price – who won gold at the Junior Championships last year – holds it down on defense while Kovalev, Plekanec, Kostitsyn, Higgins, Streit, Markov and Koivu all have over 50 points this year. Star Koivu is nursing a back injury but is expected to play in this series.
Boston’s best threat on offense, Savard, is still nursing a bad back, and goalie Thomas will have to absolutely stand on his head for the Bruins to have a chance in this series. The Canadiens finished the season 14-4-1 to snag the No. 1 seed and have now beaten Boston 11 straight times. Let’s make it 12… CANADIENS. BEST BET.