The NHL is set up with a solid night of hockey throughout April 23. Five games will be up on the board on Friday night. One of these games will be between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames. These two teams have struggled at times this season and will look for a big two points in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 9:00 PM Eastern time.
Montreal has earned a record of 20-15-9 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in fourth place of the North Division. The Canadiens have an eight point lead on Calgary for the final playoff spot. Montreal is coming off a win in their last game, but have lost six of their last nine. The Canadiens will look to get back on track with a win in this one.
The Flames have put up a record of 19-23-3 throughout this season, which has them in fifth place of the North Division. Calgary is eight points out of the final playoff spot with one more game played. The Flames will need to finish this season out strong if they want to make a push. Calgary has lost back to back games and will look to get back on track in this one..
These two teams are both eyeing the fourth and final playoff seed in the North Division. The Canadines hold a solid lead on it, but with three straight games against Calgary, anything could happen. The Flames need to come out strong in this series if they want to knock off the Canadiens. I expect an exciting three game set as these two teams come down to the wire.
The Canadiens and the Flames have met up six times throughout this season. Montreal hosted the first two games of the season series back on January 28 and 30. Jonathan Drouin and Jesperi Kotkaniemi both had two assists in the first game as the Canadiens won 4-2. Elias Lindholm had two assists in the second game to lift Calgary to a 2-0 win on the road.
Calgary hosted the third and fourth game of the season series on March 11 and 13. Josh Leivo scored twice on the night as the Flames earned a 2-1 win in the third game of the season series. Sean Monahan scored twice in the fourth game. Jacob Markstrom finished with 24 saves on 25 shots as Calgary earned a 3-1 win at home.
The fifth and sixth game of the season series shifted back to Montreal on April 14 and 16. Mark Giordano had a goal and an assist on the night, while Chris Tanev had two assists. The Flames stayed strong with a 4-1 win in the fifth game. Tyler Toffoli scored twice, while Nick Suzuki had two assists in the sixth game to lead the Canadiens to a 2-1 win.
These two teams have met up in six solid games throughout this season. Calgary has been the better team overall, winning four of the six matchups. The Canadiens won the first game of the season series and finally broke through with a win in the sixth game. Montreal will look to take over again in this one as they try to increase their lead on the Flames.
Montreal has not been great on either side of special teams this season. The Canadiens have scored on 23 of their 121 power play chances, which is a 19 percent success rate. Montreal has killed off 112 of their opponents 144 power play attempts, which is a 77.8 percent penalty kill. The Canadiens will look to improve on special teams in this one.
The Flames have been a little below the league average on the power play this season. Calgary has capitalized on 28 of their 144 power play opportunities, which is a 19.4 percent power play. The Flames have been solid on the penalty kill though. Calgary has given up 27 power play goals on 140 penalties against, which is an 80.7 percent kill rate.
Calgary has a slight edge in this matchup on special teams. The Flames have been a bit better on both the power play and penalty kill this season. If Calgary’s power play can get going against the Canadiens on Friday night, it could be enough to lift them to the win. Montreal will look to step up on special teams to match the Flames production in this one.
I expect Jake Allen to get the start in the crease for the Canadiens in this one. Allen has played in 20 games so far this season, going 8-8-4. He has posted a save percentage of .912 and a 2.54 GAA in his starts. Allen’s last start was against the Edmonton Oilers where he stopped 22 of 25 shots, which was enough for the win.
Jacob Markstrom will likely get the nod between the pipes for Calgary on Friday night. Markstrom has earned a record of 15-16-2 through his 33 starts this season. He has put up a .902 save percentage and a GAA of 2.80. Markstrom finished with 16 saves on 19 shots in his last start against the Ottawa Senators, which was not enough for a win.
These two goalies have been up and down throughout this season. Allen’s stats have been a bit better, but he will need to step up with Carey Price in concussion protocol. Markstrom is coming off back to back losses and will look to end that slide in this one. If either goalie can get into a groove quickly on Friday night, it could propel their team to the win.
Montreal has struggled against the Flames throughout this season, but I think the Canadiens can earn a big win in this one. Montreal has been the better team throughout this season and if they can stay out of the box, they can take away Calgary’s biggest edge. I like the Canadiens to come out quickly in this one to build off their last win against the Flames.
BetOnline has Montreal listed as a -110 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Canadiens will win this game around 52.4 percent of the time. I agree with this line as the Flames are at home, but Montreal has been better this season. I think the Canadiens will put pressure on early, which will allow them to pull off the win on the road.