NHL Betting: Back the Maple Leafs to turn over Montreal as Canada collides


Toronto-Montreal

The Air Canada Centre will be bouncing to try and intimidate Montreal on their first visit of the season, as well as trying to get the hometown Leafs to a fourth straight win.

Canada's two Original Six members have split the two contests in Montreal so far this year, and the Canadiens are trying to protect the six-point advantage they currently hold over their rivals.

They are coming off a bizarre victory over Ottawa in which they were gifted an early 3-0 lead to eventually win in overtime even though Carey Price was heroic in net, and I'd say there's a few question marks for both these teams as to whether they are genuine contenders.

Toronto's top line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk has combined brilliantly to propel them on this latest streak, but the fact is they still look a little shaky at the back, where 31 goals conceded in eight games in 2014 isn't pretty reading.

Despite those concerns the price of a home win at 2.45 looks great behind a hostile crowd.

 

Minnesota-Dallas

Milking Minnesota at home may not be an automatic call like it was in the first few months of the season, but they have stabilised their form somewhat and should be good value tonight mostly because their opponents are struggling.

Needing some relief from a six-game losing run, the West's bottom side Edmonton were only too willing to provide for Dallas, but two days later the Stars succumbed to Boston on Thursday so are running low on confidence by this point.

Rumours of a little friction between coach Lindy Ruff and veterans Ray Whitney and Sergei Gonchar are unlikely to go away as the trade deadline grows ever nearer, and this is a young team in need of that guidance too.

Injuries are the chief reason the Wild's reliability has taken a hit, but fortunately their strong defence remains mostly intact and I'm relying on Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin et al to see it through.

Take them to replicate something like their 5-1 success against the Stars back in October, with Minnesota to overcome a -1.5 handicap available at 3.10.

 

Best Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs to win at 2.45