The Pittsburgh Penguins own the best winning percentage in the Stanley Cup Finals among teams with at least three appearances as they've captured the championship five times in six trips. They've won back-to-back Cups on two occasions and completed the feat most recently in 2017, when they became the first team to repeat in nearly two decades. The Penguins begin their hunt for a third title in five years when they take on the Montreal Canadiens in the opener of their best-of-five 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier series on Saturday.
Pittsburgh is tied for sixth in championships and is taking on the all-time leader in Montreal, which has hoisted the Cup 24 times but hasn't done so since 1993. The opening faceoff from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto is set for 8 p.m. ET. Pittsburgh is the -160 favorite on the moneyline in the latest Penguins vs. Canadiens odds by William Hill, while the over-under for total goals scored is 5.5. Before making any Canadiens vs. Penguins picks, you need to see what SportsLine's NHL expert Bill Marzano has to say.
Marzano is a veteran handicapper who goes beyond the eye test to analyze stats and trends, injuries and personnel while using all the resources he's compiled over the years. Over the past four years, he returned more than $10,000 to $100 players with his NHL picks.
Now, Marzano has studied Canadiens vs. Penguins from every possible angle and released a confident moneyline pick. You can visit SportsLine now to see it. Here are the NHL lines and trends for Penguins vs. Canadiens:
- Penguins vs. Canadiens moneyline: Montreal +140, Pittsburgh -160
- Penguins vs. Canadiens puck line: Pittsburgh -1.5
- Penguins vs. Canadiens over-under: 5.5 goals
- PIT: The Penguins went 35-2-2 when scoring at least three goals this season
- MON: The Canadiens ended the regular season with a three-game losing streak
Why you should back the Penguins
As long as captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are in the lineup, Pittsburgh will be considered a threat to win the Stanley Cup. The superstar duo has guided the Penguins to three championships in the last 11 seasons, with Crosby claiming the Conn Smythe Trophy on two occasions and Malkin doing so once. Both players missed time in 2019-20 due to injuries but still managed to average more than a point per game, and Malkin led the team with 74 in 55 contests.
The 33-year-old Russian finished the campaign with a flourish, recording four goals and seven assists during a five-game point streak. In just 41 contests, the 32-year-old Crosby was third on the Penguins with 47 points, and he registered three goals and as many assists over a three-game span before being kept off the scoresheet in his final two contests. Pittsburgh also should have Jake Guentzel, who was leading the club with 20 tallies and 43 points before undergoing shoulder surgery on Dec. 31, back in the lineup on Saturday.
Why you should back the Canadiens
He's hardly a household name, but Tomas Tatar has had two solid seasons since being acquired by Montreal prior to the 2018-19 campaign. The 29-year-old Slovakian was behind the 8-ball from the moment he arrived as he was obtained in a deal that sent popular captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights, but he's performed admirably, recording the two highest point totals of his career. Tatar topped the Canadiens in assists (39) and points (career-high 61) this season while finishing tied with Brendan Gallagher for first in goals with 22.
Gallagher fell well short of the career high of 33 goals he posted in 2018-19, but the 28-year-old still eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the third straight season and fourth since entering the NHL in 2012-13. The player most likely to lead Montreal to a surprise victory, however, is goaltender Carey Price. Despite the Canadiens' sub-par season in which they finished 10 points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner posted a winning record (27-25-6) and four shutouts, proving he's still capable of carrying the team on his back.
How to make Penguins vs. Canadiens picks
Marzano is leaning under the total, but his stronger play is on the moneyline as he's found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Penguins vs. Canadiens? And what critical X-factor makes one side a must back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Canadiens vs. Penguins moneyline to jump on Saturday, all from the veteran handicapper who has earned his NHL followers more than $10,000 in profit over the last four years.