The Montreal Canadiens will look to advance to 10-0-1 in Columbus tonight against the Blue Jackets. If you recall, the Canadiens had a similar start to last season, but in the end they didn’t even reach the playoffs. The first few weeks of the season was the only taste of success they had. An injury to superstar goaltender Carey Price was ultimately what did them in. Without Price the Canadiens were essentially nothing on defence. They looked worse than ever going back a decade. Is Carey Price a valuable player? He may be the most valuable player in the league in my opinion. I know I will get some push back from that comment, but if Price were to get injured tonight, the Canadiens would immediately begin to regress. I do like how they picked up a solid backup in Al Montoya, though. Montoya would prove to be better than Mike Condon who had troubles keeping the puck out of the net.
The blockbuster move of the offseason, though, involved defenceman P.K. Subban. The Canadiens swapped Subban for Shea Weber in what was a trade that involved talent for talent. Subban is a good player, but I was none too keen on how sloppy he would tend to be with the puck. In any event, it went well beyond that. He did not see eye-to-eye with head coach Michel Therian. Something had to give. Either Therian or Subban had to leave. The Habs were able to pull off a quality trade by acquiring Weber for Subban. It might have worked out better than the Canadiens could have imagined.
It’s premature to say who won this trade, but thus far Montreal have clearly been playing much better hockey. The Predators have been looking worse actually, with a record of 3-5-2 through the first three weeks of the season. It’s way too early to come to any conclusions, but the Canadiens, especially their defence has been looking great. They will try and crack Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets, whose strong play from the World Cup of Hockey has carried over to the NHL season. Let’s take a look at this matchup between the Canadiens and Blue Jackets tonight in Ohio tonight.
It is looking like Carey Price is going to get the night off against the Jackets. Like I said, though, their backup Al Montoya is no slouch. Montoya makes the jump from Florida to Montreal, where he’s luckily had terrific defence to help him out on both teams. Montoya has had four starts this season and has made the most of them. He enters with a GAA of 1.47, including a save percentage of .955. It doesn’t get much better than that for Montoya, who has also backed up stellar goalies in both stops, Roberto Luongo with the Panthers, and Price in Montreal. He’s certainly played well in spot starts, which he will get tonight against the Jackets. The Canadiens are 1st in the NHL, allowing a stunning 1.30 goals per game. Yes, the Habs are doing just fine with Subban on the blue line.
Bobrovsky will get the call for Columbus in net, who has been phenomenal for the Blue Jackets. He’s posted a strong GAA of 2.02 with a .941 save percentage. The Jackets are 7th in the league defensively, allowing 2.38 goals per game. This should be a game dominated by the goaltending. The Canadiens play tomorrow night against the Philadelphia Flyers, so I expect them to be looking ahead a bit. I don’t see them flying around the ice offensively, and should face a stingy challenge against Bobrovsky. The UNDER looks like the play here.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-110)