Rogers' PUCK LINE PUNISHER >> RED HOT 10-3 NHL RUN!
New Jersey vs. Montreal,
04/01/2018 19:00 EDT,
Score: 2 - 1
Point Spread: +1½/-207 Montreal
The set-up: The New Jersey Devils completed a 3-0-1 homestand with Saturday's 4-3 triumph over the New York Islanders. The victory moved the 41-28-9 Devils five points ahead of Florida for the second wild card and pulled it within one of Philadelphia for the first spot with four games remaining. New Jersey hopes to tighten its hold on a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference when they Devils visit the 28-38-12 Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. The Canadiens won the Atlantic Division with 103 points last season but the team's 68 points this season, are better than only two other clubs in the 16-team Eastern Conference.
New Jersey: Taylor Hall, a candidate for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player, continued his torrid pace Saturday as he scored twice to increase his career-high totals to 36 goals and 88 points while helping the Devils climb within three points of Columbus for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Will Butcher notched a pair of assists against the Islanders to set the franchise record for most by a rookie defenseman (39). Kyle Palmieri had his three-game goal-scoring streak snapped Saturday but registered an assist to extend his point run to four contests before leaving midway through the third period after being clipped under his eye by the stick of captain Andy Greene. Blake Coleman scored the team's 11th short-handed goal of the season Saturday, tying it with Edmonton for the league lead.
Montreal: The Canadiens are kicking off a two-game homestand, before ending the season with a pair of contests on the road. Montreal dropped a 5-2 decision at Pittsburgh on Saturday, marking its third loss to the Penguins in 17 days.Brendan Gallagher recorded two assists against Pittsburgh to extend his point streak to five games (he's reached the 50-point plateau for the first time in his career with 51). Defenseman David Schlemko returned to the lineup Saturday after missing 12 games with an upper-body injury and blocked two shots while posting a minus-2 rating in 17 minutes, 17 seconds of ice time.
Goaltender Carey Price is expected to start for the Canadiens and he comes in 16-24-6 with a 3.07 GAA and .902 SP..
The pick: Both the Devils and the Canadiens will be playing the second of back-to-back games but only the Devils have something to play for. What's more, the Devils are 20-14-5 on the road this season, tied for the third-most victories away from home in the Eastern Conference behind only the Tampa Bay Lighting (25) and the Boston Bruins (22). That said, the Devils are allowing 3.10 GPG on the road this season, while the Cnadiens have been OK on home ice, going 18-13-8. I'm taking the 1 1/2 goals and will make Montreal a 6* play.