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Canadiens at Penguins Betting

After shocking the Capitals in the first round the Canadiens get tossed right back into the fire tonight when they kick off their second-round NHL playoff series against the Penguins.

Before the Canadiens began their set with Washington most experts agreed that Jaroslav Halak would have to stand on his head for Montreal to win the series. Well, that proved to be true, as Halak stonewalled the Caps to lead the Habs to the series win in seven games. Before Game 1 you could have had Montreal at +5000 to win the series.

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Halak basically carried the Canadiens on his back after they went down 3-1 to the Capitals. In victories in Games 5, 6, and 7 Halak made 131 saves, while allowing only three goals on 134 shots. Michael Cammalleri was Montreal’s top forward with five goals and five assists and Tomas Plekanec also delivered some timely goals with four markers and three assists in the series.

The Penguins needed six games to vanquish Ottawa in the first round, giving them nearly a week off between games. Sidney Crosby led the Penguins and all scorers in the first round with 14 points (five goals and nine assists) against Ottawa.

It was a mediocre series for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who posted a 2.75 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage. He’ll need to improve on those numbers against Montreal if Halak stays hot.

During the regular season the Pens and Habs met up four times and Pittsburgh won the season series 3-1. That included a pair of wins at home in which they outscored Montreal 9-2. In those four games this season Crosby had six points for Pittsburgh with four goals and two assists, while Plekanec was Montreal’s top scorer with two goals and two assists.

The Canadiens’ lone win against Pittsburgh this season was a 5-3 win at home back on February 6. Halak got the start in net and made 18 saves, while Brian Gionta and Plekanec each registered three points for Montreal.

The Penguins are a -270 favorite at Bovada in tonight’s series opener, while the Canadiens are +230 underdogs. Pittsburgh is also a large favorite to take the series at -450. If you think Montreal can ride Halak to another upset you can get them at +325.