The injury-plagued Pittsburgh Penguins will cross the border to face the Montreal Canadiens in an Eastern Conference match-up tonight. Given the disparity between these two teams, there will be some interesting betting angles for those people who are looking to do some midweek NHL betting.
With 64 points, the Penguins are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They have been led by the impressive play of Evgeni Malkin, who leads the entire league with 61 points. In addition, he is also the second-highest scorer in the league: only Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning has lit the lamp more times than Malkin.
Despite Malkin’s season, which has him in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy, he has been seemingly overshadowed by a teammate who has only been on the ice for eight games over the past year: Sidney Crosby.
Crosby, the most recognizable player in hockey, has been the subject of a medical mystery that would flummox even Dr. Gregory House. Although he was originally diagnosed with a concussion that caused him to miss half of the 2010-2011 season, it now appears that Crosby was also suffering from a neck injury that was exacerbating his concussion symptoms. This latest revelation has only increased the uncertainty concerning his eventual return.
Of course, Crosby is not the only Penguin to succumb to injury: Jordan Staal has also been out for the past month with a knee injury. However, this did not stop the Penguins from winning eight consecutive games at the end of January. With the injuries to both Crosby and Staal, it has been up to players like James Neal, who has already scored 27 goals of his own this season, to pick up the slack.
Regardless of Pittsburgh’s problems, they pale in comparison to the problems of the Montreal Canadiens, a team that appears to have little hope of reaching the playoffs this year. The Habs defeated the Winnipeg Jets in their last game, but this is little consolation for a team that is tied for last place in the Eastern Conference.
Although the Canadiens have shown moments of brilliance, most notably in their 7-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings before the All-Star Break, these moments have been few and far between. As well, the Penguins have won all three games against the Habs this year, although two of those games were just one-goal victories.
As such, Montreal should be able to stick around yet again, but it does not appear that they have enough offense to defeat Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pens. With respect to the money line bet, it appears that the Penguins will be the solid favorite and will get low odds. However, given the close scores in their previous encounters, a puck line bet on the Canadiens may be an option here. As for the over-under bet, despite the general lack of offense from Montreal this season, more than six goals have been scored in two of the three games between these two team. All things considered, there are a lot of possible strategies to explore for those people looking to place some bets on their online sports betting account.