It was a beauty 2-0 night last night as pair of moneyline favorites notched us a two-unit profit as we continue to battle back from an early-season rut.
We had the Wild at -105 on the moneyline to sweep a two-game set with the Golden Knights, and they did just that. They held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and even 4-1 before the Golden Knights closed it to within 4-3 late. Minnesota held on tight and earned us a one unit’s profit in the process.
Next we had the Kings as -129 moneyline favorites in Anaheim against the Ducks. Despite late scratch of Kings netminder Cal Petersen in favor of third-stinger Troy Grosenick, this one was never in doubt. Grosenick was excellent in his first NHL duty since 2014, turning aside 33 of 34 shots, while the L.A. offense stayed hot with their second consecutive five-goal performance in an eventual 5-1 Kings win.
It was a nice way to get back on track, we’ll look to keep up the good work with this Canadiens vs. Flames NHL Pick from Calgary!
- Season Record: 20-23
- Units: -3.88
Canadiens vs. Flames Betting Odds
- Canadiens (-105)
- Flames (-105)
- Canadiens +1.5 (-260)
- Flames -1.5 (+220)
- Over 5.5 (-116)
- Under 5.5 (+105)
Canadiens vs. Flames NHL Pick Breakdown
The Canadiens offense sure showed up in blasting the Vancouver Canucks by a 5-1 score just last night, putting a whopping 45 shots on Thatcher Demko in that one while it was the second time in three games the Habs found the back of the net on more than five occasions.
For the season, Montreal has worked its way back up to a share of third with 3.36 goals per game alongside the Carolina Hurricanes as well as an improved power play that sits 14th at 22.5% for the campaign.
Of course, we’re well aware by now that the Canadiens are one of the best advanced metrics teams in the league, and that’s certainly been the case again this season.
At 5v5, the Canadiens rank first in scoring chances for/60, fourth in high-danger chances for/60 and fifth in expected goals for/60 on the season, according to Natural Stat Trick. Their 2.87 goals/60 at 5v5 is well above their 2.34 expected mark, so perhaps a little bit of goal-scoring regression is on the horizon for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens’ defense got a little bit of a makeover in the offseason as they added veteran Joel Edmundson — now the NHL’s plus/minus leader — as well as graduating prospect Alexander Romanov who has fit in rather seamlessly at the NHL level.
The results so far have been solid as Montreal sits tied for ninth with 2.64 goals against per game on the season with a penalty kill that sits a little under league average at 77.2%, good for 19th league wide.
Again, the underlying metrics are rather strong.
At 5v5, the Canadiens rank sixth in scoring chances against/60, fifth in high-danger chances against/60 and second in the league in terms of expected goals against/60. Their 1.66 goals against/60 isn’t too far under their 1.81 expected mark, so this had indeed been one of the better defensive clubs in the NHL this season.
From a personnel standpoint, the Canadiens will be without defenseman Ben Chiarot for this one as he’s dealing with a hand injury and it appears that Victor Mete will get inserted into the lineup as a result.
After a rejuvenated-looking Carey Price earned the win last night in Vancouver, it will be backup Jake Allen getting the nod in the second half of the back-to-back tonight.
Allen, acquired from the Blues in the offseason to solidify the goaltending situation behind Price, has outplayed the team’s No. 1 as he’s turned in a stout 2.31 GAA and .921 Sv% across nine starts, going 4-2-3 in the process.
After a brilliant first two months of his season Allen struggled in his first and only start to the month of March, allowing four goals on 27 shots (.852 Sv%) in an overtime loss to the Jets exactly one week ago.
Allen has faced Calgary once this season, turning aside 31 of 32 shots (.969 Sv%) but taking the harshest of losses by a 2-0 final way back on Jan. 30 in Montreal.
The Flames have struggled to consistently put the puck in the net this season, something they dealt with last season as well.
Overall, the Flames are tied for 23rd with 2.69 goals per game on the season and their power play has steadily tailed off since a hot start, currently sitting 16th with a still-solid 21.1% clip.
They most recently out-shot the Ottawa Senators by a 34-22 count despite taking a shootout loss, but going 1 for 8 on the power play in that one is what truly did them in, especially with Ottawa only afforded two power-play opportunities in that contest on Sunday.
All that said, it would appear the Flames have been victimized by some poor puck-luck this season. Calgary enters this one ranked eighth in terms of scoring chances for/60 and ninth in both high-danger chances for/60 and expected goals for/60 at 5v5 this season. Their 2.34 goals/60 on the season is right in line with their 2.27 expected mark, but a lack of finish has hurt them as they sit 24th in terms of high-danger shooting rate despite generating chances at a top-10 clip.
A fresh group should at least have their legs for this one, especially in order to make an impression on new (old) head coach Daryl Sutter.
The Flames’ defense has more or less been the definition of mediocrity, both on the surface and underneath.
Overall, the Flames rank 17th with 3.04 goals against per game on the season while their penalty kill sits 14th at 79.8%.
At 5v5, the Flames enter this one ranked 18th in scoring chances against/60, 16th in high-danger chances against/60 and 12th in expected goals against/60. Their 2.39 goals against/60 on the season is a little more than their 2.11 expected mark, but it’s a fairly average group from a lot of angles.
Perhaps a structure change will help, but with a top-four of Mark Giordano, Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev, this Flames defense is certainly on the underperforming side. Perhaps the steady presence of T.J. Brodie is missed on that top pair, but Calgary has yet to find it’s footing on the defensive side of the puck as well and were recently blasted twice by the lowly Ottawa Senators.
This could be Sutter’s first and foremost concern when it comes to moving back up the North Division standings.
Jacob Markstrom missed some time with an upper-body injury recently, and David Rittich came in hot for a couple of games before being throttled across their three-game set with the Ottawa Senators.
However, Markstrom has returned for a pair of games, albeit with some middling results.
In starts at Edmonton and versus Ottawa, Markstrom surrendered three goals in each contest, turning in an .891 Sv% in the process while taking the loss in both games as well.
For the season, Markstrom has posted a 2.88 GAA and .907 Sv% across 17 starts, going 8-7-2 in that time. He turned in an excellent month of January that saw him post a 2.18 GAA and .929 Sv% in six games, but has clearly slipped since then, posting a 3.37 GAA and .896 Sv% in nine February outings before missing some time.
The 6-foot-6 netminder is certainly look for a bounce back effort and something to build on in this matchup tonight.
Canadiens vs. Flames NHL Pick
I rarely do this, but I’m focussing more on the game script here than I am the numbers as it certainly needs to be considered.
For the Flames, this marks their first game with new head coach Daryl Sutter actually behind the bench. Sutter has been running practise but has yet to coach a game in his return to the Flames’ bench. Not only that, but the Flames have been off since Sunday, giving them three full days of rest. There’s no excuse for them to not have their legs and 100% energy tonight.
That’s certainly not the case with the Habs. For some reason, the NHL scheduled their game in Vancouver last night at 11 p.m. ET, as opposed to the usual 10 pm E.T. start in Vancouver. After thumping the Canucks, the Habs hopped on a charter to Calgary and will start this one at 9 p.m. ET. In other words, the Canadiens will essentially play two games in a 24-hour span here with travel mixed in.
The Canadiens are at a total disadvantage as a result. The numbers are good, the underlying metrics are excellent and they’ve won two of their last three with points in each of their last six.
However, the Flames have such a sizeable advantage here given the Canadiens’ curious scheduling conundrum while Calgary has been sitting idle for a full 72 hours, and some.
They should be ready to roll in this one, and with identical odds on each side, I have no choice but to ride the Flames in a game they should absolutely have tonight.