The Toronto Raptors look to notch their first four-game winning streak in over a month when they travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks Monday. The additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline have made a world of difference for the Raps, as the duo has given coach Dwayne Casey plenty of new lineup options that were not present before. Ibaka has been especially stellar, as the seven-year vet has averaged 16.5 points and 8/5 rebounds as a Rap.
The Raptors have made easy work of the Knicks with the Canadian club winning the past five matchups between the two teams. In two contests this season, the Raptors are 2-0 SU and ATS while outscoring the Knicks by an average of 13 points. DeMar DeRozan, who has scored 30-plus points in each of the past two games, has torched New York for 28.0 ppg this season.
Martin Hanzal Headed To The North Star State
It was more of ‘when’ not ‘if’ as to when Martin Hanzal would be headed out of Arizona. The massive center is one of the elite faceoff men in the NHL and found himself in the last year of his contract for a terrible team. The Coyotes were not waiting until the upcoming NHL trade deadline to ship Hanzal off, as Arizona sent Hanzal, Ryan White and a fourth round pick in 2017 to Minnesota for a first round in 2017, a second round in 2018, a conditional pick in 2019 and forward Grayson Downing.
It’s a hefty price to pay for a 30-year old who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but it was also a sign that the Wild are all-in this season. Minnesota has had issues competing in the playoffs due to their lack of depth up the middle, but the combination of Eric Staal, Mikko Koivu and Hanzal should make that a non-factor.
Habs, Sens Take To The Ice
There are only three NHL games on the slate Monday, but two features Canadian content. The Montreal Canadiens will visit the struggling New Jersey Devils and the Ottawa Senators take to Amalie Arena to challenge the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Montreal has been terribly inconsistent, as they have not won back-to-back games in their last eight opportunities. The last time the Habs won two-straight came back on January 7. Even though Montreal is coming off an overtime win over Toronto, they have a good chance to upend this trend against New Jersey. The Devils are 1-3-1 in their past five games even though four of those games came on home ice.
The Senators will be facing Andrei Vasilevskiy in nets, who got the vote of confidence after the Lightning traded Ben Bishop Sunday. Vasilevskiy has posted a 1.42 GAA in his past seven starts with two shutouts in that span. That may play into an important trend for bettors, as the Senators have gone UNDER in eight of their past nine games.