NHL Free Picks & Predictions: Montreal Canadiens @ Arizona Coyotes

      NHL Free Picks & Predictions: Montreal Canadiens @ Arizona Coyotes

      Wednesday evenings’ pucks and we have an Atlantic versus Pacific Division tie, with the Montreal Canadiens crossing swords with an in-form Arizona Coyotes.

      We head to the Gila River Arena for this one, with the Coyotes back in front of the home fans for the first time in 4 games.

      Can the Canadiens beat the high-flying Coyotes?

      Montreal Canadiens (2.05) vs Arizona Coyotes (1.80)

      Arizona set the bar high coming into the new season, having made some great acquisitions in the offseason.

      An upgrade on their goaltender and array of young offensive talent on their roster meant they had every right to be ambitious for the 2019/20 campaign.

      The Coyotes have managed to get their season under control after losing three of their first four games and currently sit at 7-3-1 outright. They’ve been lethal on offense and racked up an average of 3.71 gpg in their last six.

      A mixed bag of performances so far this season for the Canadiens. A number of lackluster performance has put them at 5-4-2 overall for the season.

      However, they will go to the Gila River Arena with an air of confidence about themselves, having beaten the Maple Leafs 5-2 in their last.

      But it’s been the Habs leaky defence that has let the side down this season, which doesn’t bode well against the Coyotes.

      We expect more of the same from the Coyotes, who have been marching up the NHL power rankings and are currently sitting in 7th.

      Take Coyotes to win at home.

      Arizona Coyotes
      To beat Montreal Canadiens


      Parlay Play: Arizona Coyotes to win & over 6.5 (3.90)

      It’s been a run of differing results for the Canadiens this season. The offense has been key to their success with a 5.00 gpg in their five wins, compared to 2.50 gpg in their six losses.

      This is not a healthy stat and something they need to sort out. As the season progresses, they should look to bring some stability and consistency to their performances.

      Against a solid Coyotes defense, they’ll need to find that balance quickly.

      The Coyotes defied the NHL betting odds in their last to overcome the robust Buffalo Sabres. The game went to the wire with, our NHL free pick from last week, Nick Schmaltz scoring the deciding goal in the shootout.

      Darcy Kuemper played a huge part in the win over the Sabes, stopping 24 of the 26 shots that he faced. He boasts a 1.87 GAA for the year. Though it will likely be Antti Raanta who gets the nod for this one.

      Take Coyotes to win and the game to go over 6.5.

      Arizona Coyotes
      To win & over 6.5


      Last week’s shootout hero to find the net, Nick Schmaltz anytime scorer (3.75)

      The Coyotes have been productive and fluid in attack this season. Even with the struggling Phil Kessle, who was traded for Alex Galchenyuk. Kessle has only two goals despite leading the team in shots on goal with 31.

      Arizona are currently turning to Nick Schmaltz and right-winger Conor Garland, who leads the team with 6 goals.

      It would be good to see Kessle settle down and start producing, as the Coyotes depth is being tested of late.

      Though the test comes in defence rather than attack. Niklas Hjalmarsson is out indefinitely and Jordan Oesterle has been out since he took a nasty hit to the head against Nashville in October.

      Nick Schmaltz is scoring at a point-per-game, with 4 goals and 7 assists. He also grabbed the winner in the shootout in their last.

      The betting odds are quite favourable, despite the way he’s playing at the moment – certainly worth a punt.

      Take Nick Schmaltz to score anytime.

      Nick Schmaltz
      To be anytime scorer


      Both teams to come out firing, highest scoring period first (4.25)

      As we’ve discussed already, both teams are quite capable of finding the back of the net.

      But the injuries for Arizona, coupled with the inconsistencies in the Canadiens performances means this has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.

      It may come down to the goaltenders, who for the Canadiens will likely be the reliable Corey Price.

      The Coyotes have the second-best defensive record in the NHL, at 2.18 goals per game. Most of the credit goes to Darcy Kuemper, who’s among the NHL leaders for save percentage (.933).

      It’s fair to say that this game is very much in the balance. Both teams are well-rested and will look to come out and assert themselves early on.

      Take the highest scoring period to be in the first.

      Highest scoring period
      To be the first