Montréal Canadiens at Calgary Flames

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Montreal Canadiens will travel to the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night to take on the Calgary Flames in a North Division matchup. This will be the third time that these teams will face off as they will play both Thursday and Saturday against each other. These teams split the first two games as the Flames won a 2-0 shutout back on Jan 30 in Montreal. The Montreal Canadiens (11-6-7, 29 points) are fourth in the North Division and are on the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night. The Calgary Flames (11-12-3, 25 points) are sixth in the North Division. They are on a two-game losing streak after losing 4-3 in a shootout against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

These teams both could use a win to get closer to where the division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs are in the standings to break out of the middle-of-the-pack. Let’s take a deeper dive into these teams to decide where we should be placing our wagers. PUBLISHED BEFORE FIRST GAME

Defenseman Leads the Offense

The Montreal Canadiens have been solid in the early stages of this season and one of the reasons is the play of defenseman Jeff Petry, who has been playing extremely well to begin the season. As of this writing, there are no players listed on the injury report so this should be the Canadiens at full strength. Petry is tied for second in the league in points by a defenseman and leads them in goals as he has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) this season and has recorded five points in his last four games played. In the last game against the Vancouver Canucks, he finished with a goal on two shots in 26:04 on the ice. Petry has shown the ability to be one of the best defensemen in the league and it’ll be interesting as the Flames are a below-average defense at this point in the season.

Carey Price and Jake Allen have split time in the net this season for the Canadiens and have been playing particularly well as a goalie unit. Price was the starting goalie for them in their last game against the Vancouver Canucks, he allowed a goal on 29 shots in a losing effort. On the season, he is 7-4-4 and has allowed 41 goals on 423 shot attempts. Montreal has allowed 68 goals this season, which is 12th in the league. They seem to be on par with the league against the power play as they have allowed 20 goals this season on 89 power play opportunities (77.53 percent). Calgary is an average offense compared to the rest of the league so it will be interesting to see what Price and/or Allen can do here.

Johnny Hockey

The Calgary Flames have been stagnant so far this season but left-winger Johnny Gaudreau has played well. The Senators only have Joakim Nordstrom listed on the injury report so they are as healthy as they will be in this game. The 2017 fourth-round pick is leading the team in both points and goals as he has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) this season and has recorded five points in his last five games played. In his last game against the Ottawa Senators, he finished with a goal and attempted four shots in 25:12 on the ice. Gaudreau has shown the ability to score the puck and it should be interesting to see his ability to score against this Montreal defense.

Jacob Markstrom has been the goalie for the Calgary Flames throughout most of the season thus far and is coming off a game where he struggled a bit. Going up against the Ottawa Senators, he finished allowing three goals on 22 shots in a shootout loss. This game dropped his record to 8-7-2 this year. As a team, they have allowed 80 total goals, which is 21st in the NHL. The Flames are around league-average against power plays as they have allowed 18 power play goals in 89 opportunities (79.78 percent kill). If they can limit the amount of shots against Markstrom, it will definitely do wonders for the Flames in this game.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The way to win is to score more goals than your opponent and there’s a distinct advantage here. The Canadiens are sixth in the league with 3.29 goals per game while the Flames are 23rd in the league with 2.69 goals per game. Getting shots on goal is a great way to force your opponent to make some mistakes. Montreal is second in the league with 33.4 shots per game while Calgary is 19th in the league with 29.7 shots per game. The Canadiens have won six of the last seven games between these two teams. The trends and numbers both point to the Montreal Canadiens getting great odds to win this game.

Montreal -105

Want another opinion on this pick?


Full-Game Total Pick

Looking at the last few games for each team can tell us a lot about what to expect. The Canadiens are averaging six total goals in their last three games while the Flames are averaging 7.4 total goals per game in their last five games. These defenses allow a decent amount of goals per game as Montreal is 22nd in the league with 2.71 goals against per game while Calgary is 14th in the league with 3.04 goals per game allowed. The over has hit in five of the last seven games for the Canadiens in the second half of a back-to-back while the over is 4-1-1 in the Flames last six games. All in all, go with OVER 5.5 goals in this game.

Over 5.5