The NHL is set up with another action packed slate of games throughout March 8. Six games are up on the board throughout Monday night. One of these games will be between the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks. These two teams will look for a much needed win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 10:00 PM Eastern time.
Montreal has started out this season with a record of 11-6-6, which has them sitting in fourth place of the North Division. The Canadiens are coming off a win in their last game, but have lost six of their last eight games. Montreal is looking to get back on track after a hot start to the season. The Canadiens will look to hold onto the playoff spot in the North with a win in this one.
The Canucks have put up a record of 11-15-2 to this point in the season, which has them in sixth place of the North Division. Vancouver has struggled to find any consistency this season, but they are coming off back to back wins against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canucks have won three of their last four and will look to keep it going in this one.
These two teams have both had opposite starts to the season so far. The Canadiens came out really strong, but have hit a bit of a wall as of late. Vancouver has struggled throughout this season, but will look to finally grab some wins in succession. The Canucks still have a chance to get back in the playoff race, but need to get going now.
The Canadiens and the Canucks have met up fives times throughout this season so far. Vancouver hosted the first game of the season series on January 20. Tyler Toffoli had three goals on the night, but it was not enough. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat each had two goals and an assist. Bo Horvat scored the winner in the shootout to give the Canucks a 6-5 win.
The second game of the season series stayed in Vancouver on January 21. Bo Horvat scored twice, but this time it was not enough for the Canucks. Joel Armia had two goals and two assists, while Tyler Toffoli had two goals and an assist. Montreal was able to bounce back with a huge second period as they earned a 7-3 win on the road.
The third game was on January 23 in Vancouver. Elias Pettersson and Nils Hoglander each had a goal as the Canucks came up short again. Jonathan Drouin had a goal and an assist on the night. Joel Edmundson, Brenden Gallagher, Corey Perry and Nick Suzuki all scored as well. Carey Price stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced as the Canadiens earned a 5-2 win.
The fourth and fifth game of the season series were in Montreal on February 1 and 2. Jeff Petry had three goals and two assists over the two games, while Nick Suzuki had a goal and three assists. Tyler Toffoli had three goals and an assist and Josh Anderson had two goals and an assist. The Canadiens kept up their trend of dominating the Canucks with a 6-2 and a 5-3 win in those two games.
Montreal’s power play has been solid so far this season. The Canadiens have capitalized on 14 of their 64 power play opportunities, which is a 21.9 percent success rate. Montreal’s penalty kill has struggled a bit though. The Canadiens have given up 20 goals on their opponents 86 power play attempts, which is a 76.7 percent penalty kill.
The Canucks have been strong on both sides of special teams throughout this season. Vancouver has scored on 18 of their 89 power play chances, which is a 20.2 percent power play. The Canucks have killed off 81 of the 100 penalties against them, which is an 81 percent kill rate. Vancouver will look to use special teams to their advantage in this one.
Vancouver has the better special teams unit overall this season. The Canucks will look to get their power play going against Montreal’s struggling penalty kill. Vancouver will also look to kill off the Canadiens solid power play. The Canucks will look to stay out of the penalty box after allowing teams to go on the man advantage 100 times so far this season.
I expect Carey Price to get the start in the crease for the Canadiens in this one. Price has started in 14 games so far this season, going 7-4-3 in his starts. He has put up a save percentage of .898 and a 2.83 GAA in his games played. Price’s last start was against the Winnipeg Jets on March 6, where he stopped 28 of 29 shots in the win.
Braden Holtby will likely get the nod between the pipes for Vancouver on Monday night. Holtby has earned a record of 4-6-1 throughout his 11 starts this season. He has posted a .893 save percentage and a GAA of 3.56 in his starts. Holtby’s last start was also against the Jets on March 2. Holtby stopped 34 of 38 shots in a losing effort.
These two goalies have struggled throughout this season so far. Holtby’s numbers are a little bit worse, but he will look to come out strong after being benched for around a week. The Canucks need Holtby to step up after giving him a big contract in the offseason. If either goalie can get going early in this one, it could be enough for the win on Monday night.
The Canadiens have dominated Vancouver so far this season, winning four of the five games against the Canucks. Montreal has struggled a bit as of late though. The Canucks are coming off two big wins against Toronto and will look to carry that momentum into this one. I think that Vancouver could come out hot in this one as they look for a big win on Monday night.
BetOnline has the Canadiens listed as a -148 against the money line in this one. This implies that Montreal will win this game around 59.7 percent of the time. I think that this line is a little big for a Canadiens team that has struggled as of late. Vancouver is a big underdog at home, which makes them a great pick to me. I really like the value on the Canucks in this one.