Hockey BettingFor as much as a look into the history of this rivalry can provide, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins have provided ample fuel to the fire that burns in this Original Six battle this year. The big bad Bruins have answered the call after four straight losses to open the season series against their Northeast division rivals with consecutive wins and a flurry of physical victories, and it is now on the Canadiens to respond in the opener of this seven-game series.

Montreal Canadiens @ Boston Bruins

Thursday April 14, 2011 – 7:00 PM ET

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Online Sports Betting Odds: Bruins – 130

Montreal was battered and bruised in the final two games of the series, with the loss of Max Pacioretty from that vicious hit by Zdeno Chara and the 7-0 beatdown in the series finale. The toll was both physical and mental, and if the Canadiens are going to have any chance of pulling off the upset, they will have to avoid falling behind early in the series.

NHL Betting Preview: Montreal Canadiens

There is no hiding the fact that the Canadiens will need to use their collective speed to answer Boston’s size, but a couple of key defenseman can make the biggest difference of all. Hal Gill, Paul Mara, and PK Subban all have enough size to jockey the Bruins’ bigger forwards, and they will need to make sure they clear the traffic in front of netminder Carey Price. Montreal went on a brilliant run to the Eastern conference finals as the eighth seed a year ago, and if Price can continue to play the way he has all season then it will come down to the Canadiens’ ability to solve Tim Thomas. Thomas will win the Vezina trophy after what was the most dominant season for a goaltender in recent history, but Montreal has had his number in the past and will need their NHL powerplay to click.

NHL Betting Preview: Boston Bruins

Thomas will need to prove that the Canadiens aren’t in his head after struggling against them more than any other team over the past couple of years. The Bruins have a strong defense core, but they could be susceptible against a much faster group of Montreal forwards. That is where Boston’s forwards will need to make the difference by setting a physical tone and wearing the Canadiens down. There is no lack of scoring touch on the Bruins’ top three lines, they just need to find their pay per head opportunities.

NHL Betting: Outlook & Pick

While the Canadiens are a speedy group that proved they can compete during a long sports betting bonus run in last year’s playoffs, they ultimately lost to a much more physical Philadelphia Flyers’ team that wore them down. That will happen again this year beginning in game one on Thursday night, as a physical Boston team lays out the body and doesn’t allow Montreal’s forwards to get going.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: Boston Bruins – 130


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