The Montreal Canadiens play host to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, as the Canadiens hope to win another against an above average opponent. The Canadiens have already beaten the Penguins twice and are coming off a 7-3 drubbing of the Red Wings on Tuesday. After losing to the Canucks last night, the Penguins have gotten off to an ugly start this season. They just look a step too slow behind the younger teams in the NHL.
It’s way early, but the league is quickly turning into a young man’s game and the Pens may have too many miles on their legs to keep up. With that in mind, the Canucks are not a good team and they have no business losing to them at home. Especially considering that the Canucks are the midst of a road trip. So, are the Canadiens a better team than we originally thought? Or are the Penguins just a bad team? Sorry, it’s too early to say with the limited sample size of games that we have. Don’t expect the Canadiens to be a playoff team, though, which would be about as crazy as an expansion franchise going to the playoffs in their first season. In other words, you should expect the unexpected.
The Blues haven’t gotten off to the best of starts, as they head into Montreal with a record of 1-2-2. A team that has continually shot itself in the foot in the playoffs is running out of rope and excuses. They are deep at center with a cohort of talent that includes Brayden Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly, and Tyler Bozak. O’Reilly makes the jump to St. Louis from Buffalo where he never really found his footing.
At least in the sense with respects to what the Sabres thought they were getting when they signed the ex-Av. The Maple Leafs just ran out of room for Tyler Bozak, so he signed with the Blues in what Mike Yeo hopes to become a much faster team in 2018-19. The Blues are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Ducks at home. They’re on the road for the next three games against the Canadiens, Leafs, and Jets. The Blues should feel fresh with their previous game on Sunday. Head below for our free Blues vs. Canadiens pick.
St. Louis Blues vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick
The Canadiens go into tonight with a record of 3-1-1 after a pretty nice start to the season. They’ve won two in a row with wins over the Penguins and Red Wings. The Wings look like the worst team in the league this season, so it’s not the most glaring endorsement, but a 7-3 win for a club that wasn’t expected to do anything is a pretty good look. If anything, they’re at least doing a good job making fans buy into this start. I just think they will ultimately hit a wall and then a hole that they can’t get out of.
The offence has been the brightest spot of the Habs thus far. They are averaging 3.4 goals per game and have netted 11 goals in their last two games. No, don’t expect them to pot another 7 goals into the net tonight, but the Blues are trying to play a more offensive minded game in 2018-19, which is opening up chances for other teams.
Brian Elliott left St. Louis and regressed as a netminder. Conversely, the Blues regressed defensively since he left for a bigger contract in Calgary. Jake Allen was supposed to be the answer for the Blues, but he hasn’t produced like Elliott. Allen posted a 2.75 GAA and 0.906 save percentage last season, off from a 2.42 GAA and 0.915 save percentage the previous year. He’s regressed every year since a 2.28 GAA in 2014-15.
It’s been a shaky start for him to say the least, as he sports a 4.13 GAA and 0.878 save percentage. Chad Johnson got the start in the Blues last game and allowed 3 goals on 31 shots. It might be wise of the Blues to just go all-in offensively, because it’s not going to matter if their goaltenders are mannequins in net. With a total of 5.5, we should be able to get to 6 goals to put this one OVER the total on Wednesday.