Chicago -120 at Montreal O/U 5
The Washington Capitals may be playing the best hockey of any team in the NHL right now but the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are not far behind. Chicago will be looking to make it nine wins in a row tonight as they travel to Montreal to take on the struggling Canadiens in what is a classic tale of hot vs. cold. Chicago has outscored the opposition 32-17 during its current 8-game winning streak and with a win tonight, head coach Joel Quenneville will move into 2nd place on the NHL all-time winningest coaches list. Chicago’s offense has always been potent but it has been especially firing on all cylinders as of late with Patrick Kane (12 points in last 10 games), Artemi Panarin (8 points in last 10 games) and captain Jonathan Toews (11 points in last 10 games) all on very strong offensive streaks right now. Corey Crawford has been razor sharp in net and was especially brilliant in their 3-2 win against Nashville on Tuesday night turning aside 41 of 43shots. His track record against Montreal has been excellent notching a 3-0-2 career record with a 1.38 goals against average. Crawford stopped all 28 shots he faced in his last start against the Canadiens which was a 5-0 Blackhawks win at the Bell Centre back in November of 2014. Montreal has been on a horrendous 4-13 slide over its last 17 games since early December. Goal scoring has been a major issue and that combined with not having Carey Price in net has contributed to a lengthy tailspin for the Habs. Things aren’t great off the ice for the team either especially after center Alex Galchenyuk was caught in a recent domestic violence dispute with his girlfriend who was arrested in the process. Montreal’s four wins since early December have come against New Jersey, Tampa Bay (when dealing with injuries), Boston (in the Winter Classic without Brad Marchand and David Krejci) and Ottawa. They haven’t beaten any elite teams during that stretch and certainly not any that are as healthy or playing as well as Chicago. This is a cheap price to support the surging Blackhawks.