The Montreal Canadiens take a trip to the city of brotherly love, as the Habs match up with the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. The Canadiens are looking at making a strong push to the playoffs after a strong first half of the season. They’ve been doing it even after Carey Price started to hit a dry spell about a month ago. Despite that, the Canadiens are still 30-14-6 in large part because of Price. It isn’t like he was getting blitzed in net every game, but it was very un-Price like to allow anything more than 2 goals in over a few weeks.
The Habs returned from the break with a nice 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at home in Montreal. The Canadiens take to the road where the Flyers will be waiting for them. They went 5-4-1 in their last ten games, so the Canadiens have cooled down considerably, notably, in the last month or so. In any event, the Canadiens got off on the right footing in the second-half of the season with a victory over the Sabres.
The Flyers are bunched up with several teams who are on the fringe of the playoffs. The next few months will decide their destiny. Other than the abysmal goaltending that the Flyers have been getting, they haven’t been too bad. Better goaltending would have helped them out immensely, but the Flyers have failed to find a rhythm with Michal Neuvirth or Steve Mason. For the most part, Mason has been the primary starter.
Neuvirth came into the season as the starter, but thanks to a horrific start, Mason was installed as the main man between the pipes. Neuvirth holds a 3.17 GAA and 0.885% save percentage in only 12 starts. The job appeared to be his after he nearly stole the series away from the Capitals in the playoffs a year ago. Nothing has translated over into the 2016-17 year, though. Mason has been the better of the two, but the Flyers are still hoping somebody catches fire down the stretch. He has posted a 2.90 GAA and 0.90% save percentage thus far. It should be a good one in Philadelphia tonight. Let’s get straight to the pick.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers Pick
Goaltending is what it’s going to come down to for the Flyers to make the playoffs. Everything else has been fairly decent. Allowing 3.06 goals per game just isn’t going to get it done, though. They’ve been particularly porous on both ends lately, averaging just 1.80 goals per game across their last ten games, while allowing 3.30 goals in their last ten games. However, the Flyers did win three games before departing for the break. That all went to the wayside after a 5-1 shellacking against the Hurricanes to open up the second-half, though.
For the Canadiens, it hasn’t been very Canadien like lately. Note that they’ve allowed 3 goals per game in their last ten games. Although, the 7 goals against the Wild definitely skews that number, so don’t make it out to be a serious trend. The Habs would much prefer home, where they’re 18-5-3, compared to 12-9-3 on the road. In a sense, both of these teams have been all over the place lately. Figuring them out hasn’t been all that easy, but I can tell you one thing, the price in this game isn’t heading in the direction you would think. The public is jumping on the Canadiens at plus-money, but it’s heading in the opposite direction. I think the Flyers made for a good play for Thursday night.
PICK: FLYERS TO WIN -115