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Our expert hockey handicapper Stephen Rodriguez gives his best picks for today's games

On Monday night, the NHL regular season returns to action following the All-Star break.

Here’s a look at today’s NHL games:


Washington Capitals (-1) @ Montreal Canadiens, 7:00 PM:

  • The Capitals have the best record in the NHL at 33-11-5.
  • Washington leads the overall series with Montreal 2010 W/L. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The Washington Capitals (33-11-5) went into the All-Star break adding onto their NHL best record with a three-game winning streak, defeating the New York Islanders 6-4.

Washington trailed 4-1 heading into the third period, but went off to score four unanswered behind Alex Ovechkin’s hat-trick for his 34th goal and Jakub Vrana, who scored an unassisted go-ahead goal for his 22nd of the season.

Montreal Canadiens (22-21-7) caught stride heading into the break winning four of the last five games, including a 5-4 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Montreal led 3-0 out of the gates in the first period but were unable to hold on in regulation. Nick Cousins put away the first and last goal for the Canadiens, marking his sixth and seventh scores of the season.

Ovechkin will be missing the game in Montreal tonight due to a one-game suspension, but I’m not sure if that will be enough to slow up the NHL’s best team coming off much-needed time off.

Washington is a safe play on the moneyline, and have strong odds to make value on as a favorite at (-125).

2u - Washington Capitals Moneyline @ -125

Toronto Maple Leafs (+1) @ Nashville Predators, 8:00 PM:

  • The Maple Leafs have a 42 W/L record at BridgeStone Arena since 2012-13. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

Toronto (25-17-7) hit a rough path before the break, losing four of the last five, and are currently riding a two-game losing streak after falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2.

Despite the rough path, the Maple Leafs have the second highest goal scorer in the NHL in Auston Matthews with 34 goals and the second highest winning goaltender in Frederik Andersen with 22 wins.

Last time out, the Nashville Predators (22-18-7) snapped a two-game losing streak by taking down the Buffalo Sabres 2-1.

Nashville trailed 1-0 but scored goals in the second and third period to pull away for the victory behind stellar play in net by goaltender Pekka Rinne. Rinne totaled 30 saves, and center Craig Smith scored the game-winning powerplay goal.

Despite the struggles heading into the break, the Maples Leafs hd been rolling with a (9-0-1) record prior to the final six games. My expectation is Toronto will get back on track and take care of the Predators.

1u - Toronto Maples Leafs (+1) @ -187

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Dallas Stars (+1), 8:00 PM

  •  The underdogs have won each of Dallas’ last four games.
  • Dallas is 104-2 as an underdog this season. Stats courtesy of Statschecker.

Tampa Bay (29-15-4) went into the All-Star break in explosive fashion by blowing out the Winnipeg Jets 7-1.

The Lightning were up 5-0 in the blink of an eye until the Jets were able to score their only goal midway through the second period. Center Anthony Cirelli put together a hat-trick and right wing Nikita Kucherov contributed two goals of his own.

The Dallas Stars (27-17-4), on the other hand, had some time to reevaluate the end to the first half of the season. Dallas lost three of the last four games, including an ugly 7-0 shutout loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Dallas has the top defense in the NHL, allowing a league-low (2.46 gapg), and matches up well against the third highest scoring offense in the NHL with (3.60 gf/pg). I’m going out on a limb with the home underdogs Dallas to keep this game close enough to either win outright or force a push in an overtime/shootout.

1u - Dallas Stars (+1) @ -150

By Stephen Rodriguez

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