Word on the street is that Carey Price is kind of a good goalie. Yes, he certainly is, and is the reason the Canadiens have gotten off to this historic 9-0-0 run to start the season. Despite the score on Saturday against the Leafs, a 5-3 victory, the game wasn’t indicative of the final score. If you were just looking at the shot total, you could come to the conclusion that the Leafs won the hockey game. After all, the Leafs did outshoot the Habs by a mark of 52-27 so if that was how the score was kept, it would have been a blowout for the Leafs. Fortunately for the Canadiens, they have the best goaltender in the NHL between the pipes. I don’t even think the Canadiens necessarily have a great, elite defense, it’s just Carey Price that continually steals the show.
The Canadiens put their 9-0-0 record on the line against the Vancouver Canucks tonight, who are entering the contest with a 3-2-3 record. This could be one of those trap games the Canadiens. Don’t get me wrong, the Canucks are not a bad team, but the Canadiens are travelling out west after taking the rival Maple Leafs down with a perfect record in their pocket. They aren’t going to win every game this season. And what else than a trip across the country to Vancouver for them to suffer their first loss. Not saying it’s going to happen, but it looks like one of those scenarios where the Canadiens get complacent and fall.
They kind of did get complacent against the Leafs, but Price closed the door on the Leafs. Trying to come back from a big deficit on the Canadiens with Price in net isn’t going to turn out so well. The whole matchup was just a goaltending mismatch with Bernier against Price. Tonight Price has a tougher opponent on his hands against Ryan Miller. Miller isn’t the same goalie he was when he was on the USA national team, but still one of the better netminders you’ll find in the NHL. Let’s look a little deeper and try to find a winner for tonight in the NHL.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Vancouver Canucks Pick
While the Canadiens have obviously gotten off to an excellent start, I feel like the time to just do good in the regular season isn’t good enough for the Canadiens anymore. I know some Canadien fans and they are of course happy by the start, but win a Stanley Cup before getting elated over anything. The NHL schedule is long and they’ve had good regular seasons before, so while it’s a nice start, don’t get too excited. The Canadiens will ultimately lean on Price and the defensive side of things. As a team the Habs are allowing only 1.33 goals per game, Price has a GAA of just 1.29.
The Canucks have never really left the Roberto Luongo era. Yes, I am well aware he has been in Florida. But the philosophy has been the same for the Canucks. Luongo is gone and now they plug in Ryan Miller. Rely on the defense and goaltending and hopefully the offense can do enough. It hasn’t been enough at home this season, as the Canucks have a putrid 0-2-3 record playing in Vancouver. They have been playing well on defense with 2.13 goals allowed, but offensively they have scored only 2.38 goals per game. I don’t think the Sedin brothers and Brandon Sutter have enough to carry this team. The Sedin’s are reaching their expiration date, and while Sutter is a good player, these guys aren’t carrying the offense on their backs. They should have a tough time solving Price, and after the pretty poor effort on defense by the Habs, I think they play better tonight. The UNDER has been a good bet in this series, hitting at a clip of 6-3-1 in their last ten games. It should be a goaltending duel between Price and Miller tonight, which leans me towards the UNDER 5.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-110)