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Usually in these little intros I try to give some idea of where the league is at and what to look for in the upcoming action around the NHL, but today it’s going to be something different.

In the span of one week, the hockey world has lost Mike Bossy and now Guy Lafleur, both gone far too soon. There are players through hockey history that become iconic for their teams, representative of the identity that the team played with on the ice, and Lafleur absolutely was that. Lafleur played the game in the same the way that made the Montreal Canadiens the greatest team in the sport’s history, with skill, flair, panache, and instinct.

More than just being an icon of the Montreal Canadiens, 'Le Démon Blond' was the image of hockey in the 1970s. His flowing hair waving in the breeze as he skated the length of the ice is forever etched in the collective memory of the sport, just as his name is on the Stanley Cup five times.

Boston Bruins to defeat New York Rangers -135

The New York Rangers have been a different team since the trade deadline, playing way better defensively than they have in years, which has allowed Igor Shesterkin to regain his form after starting to fall off a little bit. However, losing Andrew Copp and Filip Chytil to injury in their last game is not an easy thing to compensate for.

Combine that with walking into TD Garden in Boston against a very dangerous Bruins team, and the Rangers have a serious challenge to face on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins have only won half of their last 10 games, but they remain a top-10 team by essentially all underlying metrics.

The duo of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand is as dominant today, or even more so than it was five years ago, and they show no signs of slowing down. There’s also a chance the Bruins get David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm back in the lineup this weekend, which makes them even more difficult to beat.

Montreal Canadiens to defeat Ottawa Senators +130

It’s been a rough stretch for the Montreal Canadiens, losing seven straight and not looking very good during that time, but there’s a combination of factors here that play in their favour.

First, the Ottawa Senators will be on the second-half of a back-to-back with travel, coming home from Columbus Friday night. Secondly, the emotional roller coaster of the passing of Lafleur gives the Canadiens something to play for. Third, the public spat Brendan Gallagher started with Tim Stützle after their last matchup now spills into a real game.

The Canadiens will need to play far better defensively than they have in their last few games in order to limit the chances of the chaotic Senators’ offence, but even a team that’s as thin as the Canadiens are post-trade deadline can’t lose every game, and the Senators are their best chance of a win over their last four games of the season.

Cole Caufield to score anytime vs Ottawa Senators +165

Caufield finally broke a five-game scoring slump late in the game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, his longest stretch under Martin St. Louis, and he has scored in streaks since the new coach took over.

Only twice has he gone two or more games between goals and not scored the following game as well, and against a team that isn’t defensively strong like the Sens, he should have plenty of opportunities.

Those chances will only go up if the game gets chippy after the way the last game between these two teams ended.

Toronto Maple Leafs to defeat Florida Panthers +130

After having the smackdown laid on them by the reigning Stanley Cup champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning with an 8-1 loss on Thursday, the Maple Leafs will be pushing to leave the state of Florida with one win.

Unfortunately for them, they’re facing the Florida Panthers, who have won 12 straight games and are currently tied for the best goal differential any team has had in the salary cap era at +103, equalling the 2005-06 Ottawa Senators.

The Panthers are not unbeatable though, and the Leafs are one of the few teams in the league who have managed to take points off them this season. Winning streaks never last forever, the Leafs are going to be upset with themselves after the performance against Tampa Bay, and they’re already a great team to begin with. I say they win this one.