The NHL is set up with another solid night of action on April 26. Eight games are up on the board throughout Monday night. One of these matchups will be between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames. These teams are fighting for the final playoff spot in the North, which should lead to a great game in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 6:30 PM Eastern time.
Montreal has earned a record of 20-17-9 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in fourth place of the North Division. The Canadiens have a nice lead for now, but need to get back on track in this one. Montreal has lost two games in a row and four of their last five. The Canadiens will look to bounce back with a big win in this one.
The Flames have put up a record of 21-23-3 throughout this season, which has them in fifth place of the North Division. Calgary is down four points for the fourth seed with one extra game played. The Flames have won back to back games and five of their last seven. Calgary needs to keep this up if they want to sneak into the final playoff spot.
These two teams are in a tight race for the final playoff spot in the North division, which should lead to an exciting game. Calgary has had the Canadiens number throughout this season and will look to keep it up in this one. The Flames will look to close the gap to two points with a win in this one. Montreal will look to bounce back in this one.
The Canadiens and the Flames have met up eight times this season. Montreal hosted the first two games between January 28 and 30. Jonathan Drouin and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each had two assists in the first game to give the Canadiens a 4-2 win. Jacob Markstrom finished with a 37 shot shutout in the second game to give Calgary a 2-0 win.
Calgary hosted the third and fourth game of the season series on March 11 and 13. Josh Leivo scored two goals in the third game to help lift the Flames to a 2-1 win at home. Sean Monahan scored twice in the fourth game to lift Calgary to the win. Jacob Markstrom finished with 24 saves on 25 shots as the Flames 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, while Chris Tanev had two assists in the fifth game. Markstrom stopped 26 of 27 shots as the Flames won 4-1. Tyler Toffoli had two goals and Nick Suzuki had two assists in the sixth game as the Canadiens won 2-1.
The seventh and eighth game of the season series moved to Calgary on April 23 and 24. Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists in the seventh game, while Andrew Mangiapane had a goal and an assist. The Flames won 4-2. Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and Derek Ryan had two assists in the most recent game to give Calgary a 5-2 win.
Montreal has struggled a bit on both sides of special teams throughout this season. The Canadiens have scored on 24 of their 126 power play chances, which is a 19.1 percent success rate. Montreal has killed off 114 of their opponents 147 power play attempts, which is a 77.6 percent penalty kill. The Canadiens will need to step up on special teams in this one.
The Flames could use some improvement on the power play this season. Calgary has capitalized on 29 of their 147 power play opportunities, which is a 19.7 percent power play. The Flames have been solid on the penalty kill though. Calgary has given up 28 power play goals on 145 penalties against, which is an 80.7 percent kill rate.
Calgary has the edge on special teams in this one, but not by much. The Flames have been slightly better on the penalty kill, but both teams have been producing about the same on the power play. Calgary will have a chance to get their power play going against Montreal’s penalty kill. If either team can capitalize with the man advantage, it could be enough for the win.
I expect Jake Allen to get the start in the crease for the Canadiens in this one. Allen has earned a record of 8-9-4 through his 21 games played this season. He has posted a .912 save percentage and a GAA of 2.57 through those games. Allen’s last start was on April 23 against the Flames, where he stopped 27 of 30 shots in the losing effort.
Jacob Markstrom will likely get the nod between the pipes for Calgary on Monday night. Markstrom has started in 35 games this season, going 17-16-2 through those starts. He has put up a save percentage of .903 and a 2.75 GAA this season. Markstrom started against Montreal on April 24, where he stopped 30 of 32 shots in the win.
Allen has been slightly better stat wise this season, but Markstrom has had the better record. Markstrom will be starting in his third game in four nights in this one and will look to avoid a slow start. If the Canadiens can pressure him early, they could catch him tired. I think that Montreal will capitalize on Markstrom in this one.
The Flames have dominated the season series against Montreal, but the Canadiens have still been the better team this season. I think that Montreal will finally bounce back with a win in this one against Calgary. The Flames have won back to back games against the Canadiens, but I think Montreal will come out stronger in this one on Monday night.
BetOnline has Calgary listed as a -121 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Flames will win this game around 54.8 percent of the time. This line makes sense with Calgary being at home and their success against Montreal this season. I like the value on the Canadiens though playing Markstrom on his third game in four nights. I am taking Montreal as underdogs on Monday night.