Two teams that had the most road wins in the NHL Eastern Conference during the regular season will try to win a critical Game 5 on Thursday, as the Montreal Canadiens host the New York Rangers as solid home favorites.
The Canadiens and Rangers have both split two games on home ice, with the latter ending a two-game series skid with a 2-1 victory Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Betting line: The Canadiens opened as -145 (69-100) favorites; the total is at 4.5 goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.2-2.3, Rangers (NHL picks on every game)
Why the Rangers Can Pay on the NHL Lines
New York opened this first-round playoff series with a 2-0 win at Montreal before falling 4-3 in overtime in Game 2 and then 3-1 in Game 3.
The Rangers had more regular-season road wins than any team in the NHL, with 27, and they will lean on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has stopped 134 of the 142 shots he has faced in the playoffs for a save percentage of .943 to slightly outplay counterpart Carey Price of the Canadiens. His shutout in Game 1 sent an early message, and another win here would give New York a shot to clinch at home in Game 6.
Why the Canadiens Can Pay on the NHL Lines
Price has been nearly as good as Lundqvist in this series, turning away 114 of the 121 shots (.942) he has faced. But Montreal’s defense has done a better job, limiting the opposition’s shots.
Even though the Canadiens lost Game 1 at home, their OT victory in Game 2 after Tomas Plekanec’s tying goal at the 19:42 mark of the third period was massive and helped set the tone for their Game 3 win. Game 4 could have gone either way, so the Habs will be confident in their return to the Bell Centre.
Smart Betting Pick
The goalies have been great so far, and there is no reason to expect anything different in Game 5. Game 2 was a bit of an anomaly as a high-scoring affair, with Lundqvist taking the loss despite making 54 saves. Still, the under has cashed in three of the first four games of the series and has gone 4-1-1 in the past six meetings, dating back to the regular season.
Look for another low-scoring result that finishes under the total on Thursday night.
NHL Betting Trends
The total has gone under in six of New York’s past seven games.
The total has gone under in four of Montreal’s past five games.
Rangers are 1-5 SU in their past six games on the road.
All NHL lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.