A tough loss for the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, as they fell in overtime, 5-4, to the Washington Capitals. The Canadiens chased Pheonix Copley from the net, but Braden Holtby hopped in to provide phenomenal work and not allow a goal for the rest of the game. The Habs had opportunities, with Holtby throwing up a wall between the pipes.
Notably, there was what looked like a game ender in overtime in front of the net, but Holtby was able to get over for robbery. It was a beautiful feed to set the potential game winner up, though it was ultimately a game saver for the Caps. Carey Price robbed Ovechkin at the buzzer to close out regulation. However, in true Carey Price 2018 fashion, allowed a puck get by him on a Lars Eller wrister.
Price has given up some softies this season, while also making some fantastic saves. The miraculous save and then giving up the Eller goal was his season in a nutshell. The former Canadien, who was just getting booed about 30 seconds earlier, gave the Caps the extra point. It isn’t like Price necessarily played badly in that contest, his defence certainly let him down, though. He probably should have had the OT winner, but he was bailing his defence out often as well.
The Canadiens have played a faster game this season and have been forcing the issue offensively. It’s been much more entertaining to watch, but there are some holes on the other side of the rink. They need Shea Weber back, who is reportedly ahead of schedule and has a chance to return this month. The original timeline was mid-December, so I’m still going to go with a December return. The blueline has been bleeding goals this season and could need some assistance. Head below for our free Canadiens vs. Devils pick.
Montreal Canadiens vs. N.J. Devils Pick
Price was on track for a couple of games out west, allowing 2 goals each to the Canucks and Flames. The Capitals came at him with 34 shots with 5 getting by him. If Copley stayed in net, the Canadiens likely win. Holtby was rock solid in relief of Copley, which saw the Habs hit the net 44 times overall. Generating offence hasn’t been much of an issue for the Canadiens this season, so it was no surprise that they put 4 goals up on the board.
It should have been more, but Holtby was the difference maker. Montreal are averaging a healthy amount of goals with 3.24 per game. Normally that would be fine with a netminder like Carey Price in net. However, it’s been a struggle for the defence to get locked in. Price owns a 3.05 GAA and 0.90 save percentage, after finishing with a 3.11 GAA and 0.90 save percentage a season ago. With a bad defence to support him, this may be the norm for him and less of an outlier. In their last ten games, the Habs have gotten shellacked for 4.1 goals per game.
The Canadiens rank 26th overall, with an average of 3.3 goals allowed per game. The Devils have been searching for an answer in net as well, which has been up and down throughout the year. Keith Kinkaid did a nice job filling in when Cory Schneider was injured, but neither have taken command since he’s returned. Schneider has an ugly 4.08 GAA and 0.865 save percentage that will have to improve for the Devils to have any hope in 2018-19. As a team, the Devils have surrendered 3.3 goals per in their last ten outings. Especially against the Canadiens with their struggling defence, and a team who wants to play fast, the OVER is recommended in New Jersey.