NHL Hockey Betting for March 16, 2015&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Four NHL games on the schedule for Monday night but two are blowouts in the making. The Kings are -350 favorites over the Coyotes at home while the Capitals are -300 favorites against the Sabres in Buffalo. We’ll focus on the two competitive games on the board:

MONTREAL CANADIENS AT TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING:

Very intriguing matchup between Atlantic Division rivals. The Habs currently hold down the top spot in the division but the Bolts are just two points back. Montreal will get rugged defenseman Alexei Emelin back in the lineup tonight and head coach Michael Therrien has hinted that he might dress seven defensemen for tonight’s game. Excellent goaltending battle in this one as Montreal sends Carey Price between the pipes to face Tampa’s Ben Bishop. Price is the #1 goaltender in the league right now and the Canadiens have the NHL’s #1 scoring defense. Much is being made in Montreal that it is the 60th anniversary of the Richard Riot but tempers will likely be much calmer in the Cigar City tonight–at least *off* the ice.

So how to handicap this game? Tampa Bay seems to have had the Canadiens’ number so far this season winning all three meetings by a combined margin of 12-3. Tampa is in better recent term form going 6-3-1 in their last ten games to the Canadiens 5-3-2. The Habs’ liability in this matchup is their pop gun offense. Montreal is a bottom ten offensive team and has the lowest goals per game number of any playoff qualified side. No matter how good your defense and goaltending is it doesn’t matter if you can’t score any goals. Tampa Bay might not have a Vezina Trophy candidate in net but Bishop has been solid this year and the Bolts’ have the #12 scoring defense. They also have the #1 scoring offense meaning that they can keep the pressure on the Canadiens where they’re the weakest. Canadiens certainly don’t want to go down 0-4 to their divisional rivals in the season series but this is a brutal tactical matchup for them.

BET TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING -120 OVER MONTREAL CANADIENS

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS AT EDMONTON OILERS:

Hey, we said both games were going to be *competitive*, not necessarily good. Two of the NHL’s bottom feeders go head to head in Edmonton tonight as the hometown Oilers host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both teams are playing more to lose than win–they’re hoping to improve their chances in the NHL’s draft lottery so they can select player of the next generation Connor McDavid. Edmonton has the second worst record in the league just 4 points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. The Leafs are a wretched team to be sure but with 60 points they’re going to have a hard time ‘catching’ the teams at the bottom of the table. That could produce a better effort here and that would be enough to get them a victory.

BET TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS +100 OVER EDMONTON OILERS