The competitiveness of the all-Canadian division will rage on Thursday evening as the red-hot Montreal Canadiens return home for their first home-date of the new season. The Habs have been one of the early season surprises thus far, having not lost in regulation through their first six contests.
Opposing them will be the ice-cold Calgary Flames, a team that many projected would be battling for the division lead. After a sweep of the Leafs in back-to-back contests, Calgary heads East a very surly bunch. This is a team loaded with offensive talent and feist, and they’ll be keen to reverse their fortunes against a pesky Montreal club.
The Habs enter with all kinds of confidence at the moment, buoyed by a deep forward line that can deliver speed and scoring through all four lines. Their defense is incredibly solid and well-structured, while Carey Price has looked like his old self through his opening games.
With both teams chasing down the Toronto Maple Leafs who currently occupy first-place, a decisive win over each other would go a long way for playoff positioning. Can Montreal continue their torrid pace? Or will the Flames put together a complete 60-minute effort to reverse their fortunes? Continue on beneath the posted odds for further team news, analysis, and a betting prediction for Calgary and Montreal on Thursday night.
Calgary Flames vs. Montreal Canadiens Betting Odds:
Calgary Flames (+110)
@ Montreal Canadiens (-130)
Calgary Flames +1.5 (-225)
Montreal Canadiens -1.5 (+200)
Over 6 (-110)
Under 6 (-110)
*Betting odds provided by MyBookie.ag
Calgary Flames vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick:
Though the Flames enter Montreal definitely keen on securing a victory, they’ll be forced to turn to their backup goalie in David Rittich on Thursday evening. After playing Jacob Markstrom in back-to-back gruelling losses vs. the Leafs, a break is overdue for the Swedish netminder. Instead, the inconsistent Rittch will occupy the pipes, looking to break Calgary’s slump against a potent Montreal attack.
The Habs will again go with Carey Price in goal, who has been solid, but not spectacular as of yet. Frankly put, he hasn’t needed to stand on his hand through his first four outings, as the Habs have kept high-danger shots to a minimum, and done their part to offer plenty of support with goals at the other end.
While many bettors are typically reluctant to back home teams coming off of long road-trips that span multiple time-zones, the Habs have had four full days of rest, and a chance to get re-acclimated to home life. This is also a fast-paced club filled with young legs, speed, and depth, and one that matches up well against the Flames.
Expect Montreal coach Claude Julien to really put the pressure on Calgary’s bottom-6 forward group and the Flames’ fifth and sixth defensemen. By controlling last change, the Habs’ depth really comes in handy against teams lacking it. Montreal boasts some dominating scoring lines, and their speed and physicality both off the cycle and off the rush are something the Flames’ depth options will struggle with. The same held true against Toronto earlier in the week.
While the hype surrounding Montreal is getting to be a bit much, the market’s lack of reaction to the Calgary downgrade in goal was a telling sign that the Habs offer up good value once again on Thursday. This is an elite team and in a season where depth could reign supreme, Montreal certainly boasts that. Expect their pace to overwhelm the Flames’ depth options – en route to another routine victory for Les Canadiens.