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Montreal will play its second game in as many nights on Thursday when visiting the Vancouver Canucks after playing the Canucks in the first game of there series on Wednesday. After three games of the regular season, Montreal is 2-0-1 with five points, after losing the opener to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 and following that with 5-1 and 3-1 victories over the Edmonton Oilers. After Montreal’s game on Thursday with Vancouver, each of the first five games for the Canadiens will have been played on the road.
Vancouver started its season with a victory over Edmonton, but the Canucks have now lost three straight after losing the second game of their opening Series to the Oilers and being swept by the Calgary Flames 3-0 and 5-2 in each of their next two outings. Vancouver is 1-3-0 with two points and sits in last place tied with Edmonton in the North Division. The Canucks have had a hard time keeping the puck out of their own net as Vancouver is allowing an average of 4.00 goals per game.
Montreal defense starts the season strong
Montreal opened the regular season allowing four goals in a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs and since then the Canadiens defense and netminders have allowed just one goal in each of the next two games to the high-scoring Edmonton Oilers. Montreal goalies Carey Price and Jake Allen have been solid between the pipes as Price is 1-0-1 with a goals-against average of 2.92 and .913 save percentage, while Allen is 1-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.01 and save percentage of .961. Combined the two have pushed aside 88 of 95 shots on goal.
Montreal is scoring an average of 4.00 goals per game led by the three goals off the stick of Tomas Tatar including one on the power play. Jeff Petry is the assists leader with three and the points leader with five. Montreal’s power play has scored 40.0% of the time, while it’s penalty kill has been effective 85.7% of the time. The Canadiens have been able to sidestep injuries as Montreal does not have any players listed on its injury report.
Vancouver defense giving up too many goals
Vancouver opened this regular season with a victory but has lost each of its last three and much of that is due to poor play on the blue line and between the pipes. The Canucks are allowing an average of 4.00 goals-per-game. Braden Holtby is 1-1-0 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .909 save percentage while Thatcher Demko is 0-2-0 with a goals-against average of 4.65 and save percentage of .883. The two netminders for Vancouver have turned aside a combined 128 of 144 shots on net. Vancouver’s defense must tighten its ranks as the Canucks are allowing an average of 36 shots on net per game.
Vancouver’s offense is having difficulty keeping pace with the goals scored by opponents against the Canucks defense. Vancouver is scoring an average of just 2.25 goals-per-game. Brock Boeser is leading Vancouver and goals scored with two, while Quinn Hughes is the leader in assists with three and points with three. Part of Vancouver’s problem on offense is the power play has failed to produce a goal and the penalty kill unit has been effective just 66.7% of the time. Vancouver’s Jordie Benn, Micheal Ferland and Jayce Hawryluk are all out indefinitely, while JT Miller is expected back in late January.
- Vancouver is 1-4 in the last five
- The Canucks are 9-23 in the last 32 when playing the second half of a back-to-back
- Montreal is 4-1 in the last five on the road
- The Canadiens are 6-2 in the last eight when playing the fourth of a 4-in-6 situation
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Montreal has started the season very strong at 2-0-1 thanks to its strong netminding. Carey Price and Jake Allen have become a strong duo between the pipes for the Canadians. Montreal is allowing an average of just 2.33 goals per game, while scoring an average of 4.00 goals per game. In contrast, Vancouver has had problems putting the puck in the net at one of the ice and keeping the puck out of the net at the other. Vancouver is scoring an average of just 2.25 goals per game and allowing an average of 4.00 goals per game. Vancouver has yet to score a goal on the power play. The Canucks have lost four of the last five overall and Vancouver has lost 23 of its last 32 when playing on 0 days rest.
Full-Game Total Pick
Montreal is allowing an average of just 2.33 goals per game and the total has finished under in eight of the Canadiens last 10 games played on the road and in 7 of the Canadiens last 10 overall. Vancouver is having a problem putting the puck in the net averaging just 2.25 goals per game. The total has finished under in six of the last nine meetings between these two Western Conference rivals played in Vancouver.