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NHL Opening Night: Montreal Canadiens at Carolina Hurricanes

First and foremost, the Montreal Canadiens are entering this season completely healthy for the first time in several years. Canadiens GM has spoken highly about the depth of his group and how many players he feels will be contributing on a night-to-night basis. Canadiens Captain Shea Webber will be heavily relied upon to lead this group and log some heavy minutes on the blue line. Between All-Star goaltender Carey Price and defencemen Shea Webber they will be looked at to play big leadership roles and have solid starts to the season.

Event: (11) Montreal Canadiens at (12) Carolina Hurricanes
Sport/League: NHL
Date/Time: October 3, 2019 7PM EDT
Play: Montreal Canadiens +140

In the past two years, Webber has missed 80 games so it will be key for him to come into this season healthy and strong ready to log plenty of ice time and be the leader he is certainly expected to be. This year the Canadiens have a great mix of younger players and experienced players. A player I’ll be looking at to make an immediate difference is a guy like Nick Suzuki, I have watched him play in person a handful of times and he seems to always make a difference when he is on the ice, Suzuki is a play-maker and a goalscorer that knows how to make players around him better. The Montreal Canadiens will get to see another year of young Finnish forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi who seemed to develop and grow every single game and start to understand the flow of an NHL game. Kotkaniemi seems to have a great feel for the game along with a very high hockey IQ so I expect with a year under his belt now that he’ll enter this season much more experienced and much hungrier. During the team’s exit interviews Kotkaniemi spoke about how he couldn’t have asked for a better group around him, a better leadership group and how much he truly appreciated the help everyone gave him. Kotkaniemi made it clear that his offseason goals were certainly to build strength and be stronger on the puck and in the dirty areas, with new pieces around him and a year under his belt I’m expecting great things out of him on a line with Joel Armia and Jonathan Drouin. For a guy like Jonathan Drouin, I really feel that he is due for a big year, the Quebec native has faced a lot of drama in his career with a lot of expectation which is certainly justified by being a #3 overall pick but it seems to me he hasn’t quite been able to fit in yet and get comfortable. During the offseason, Drouin watched plenty of film and worked on his shot from the slot to make himself a much more dangerous scorer from all angles. Another player that is certainly worth a mention is Max Domi, a player involved in a trade with the Coyotes in the offseason last year that launched his numbers into the air in comparison to his previous year. Domi went from scoring 8 goals in the 2017-2018 season to scoring a whopping 28 goals in the 2018-2019 season. With all this being said I believe the Canadiens have 4 lines that can score and a solid defensive core with a top 3 goalie in the league behind them. We are getting a +135 underdog spot with what I feel is the better team.

The Caroline Hurricanes are coming off a dream of a season, they were able to make a deep run into the playoffs and shock a lot of people, but do they have the scoring ability and speed to match up with this Canadiens team? I don’t think so. The Hurricanes certainly have the scoring ability and certainly, have some physicality to their game but I don’t see them lining up line for line with this fast Habs team. The coaching staff for the Hurricanes have mentioned that it is very important that the players do not enter this week feeling too satisfied with last year’s success and that they come in even hungrier to “back it up.” The Hurricanes lost Justin Faulk last month to the St. Louis Blues in a trade and I see that to be a big loss for them, Faulk was a big player for them and played a big leadership role that might be hard to be replaced.

Overall the depth is there for the Montreal Canadiens to move past this Hurricanes team – if Carey Price is the goaltender I know he can be and the Habs use their pace of the game to their advantage, they will be cashing us a great underdog ticket. Play the Canadiens +135 for 3%.

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5% CFL Top Play
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Source: news.sportsmemo.com