With their backs firmly against the wall, the Montreal Canadiens will need to manage to score a goal if they are to avoid a first-round departure from this year’s NHL post-season.
Montreal was impressive in the qualifying round against the Penguins, defeating them 3-1 in their best-of-5. Many pegged the Habs as a pesky underdog that could shock the Flyers, but the results and goals just have completely dried up for this unproven squad.
Though the Habs mustered five goals in a Game 2 blowout of Philly, they’ve scored one total goal in their three losses. They’ve been completely shut out by Carter Hart in Games 3 and 4 and trailing the series 3-1, Montreal needs to generate more offensive chances if they want to prolong their stay in the Toronto bubble.
It won’t be easy though as the Flyers are well-coached and disciplined. They play within their structure and mix-in an excellent blend of physicality and skill. Alain Vigneault has done a great job with this group, and there is a reason why they entered the post-season as the top seed.
In goal, Carter Hart has been dynamite, outplaying his childhood idol in Montreal’s Carey Price. The Habs have had some quality chances over the past two games, but solving Hart has proven to be a tall task.
Elimination games in the NHL are always very exciting, as the desperation brings out the best from both clubs. While the Flyers will look to dust away the Habs early for added rest and recovery time, Montreal is fighting hard for their season to continue. It should produce a game hopefully with a little more offense, and you better believe there are some good money-making opportunities to be had. Read on beneath the posted odds for a match-up preview, team news, and our betting prediction for Game 5 between Montreal & Philadelphia.
Canadiens vs. Flyers Betting Odds:
Montreal Canadiens (+126)
Philadelphia Flyers (-140)
Over 5 (+102)
Under 5 (-113)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Canadiens vs. Flyers Pick:
Though it certainly seems gloomy if you are a fan of the Montreal Canadiens being down 3-1 to Philadelphia, they have still put together a decent statistical series. They shouldn’t really be trailing by two games, especially when you delve into their underlying numbers thus far.
Montreal isn’t done yet however, and you have to feel for this Habs side that have only allowed 7 goals in 4 games to the favoured Flyers. They’ve done an exceptional job of limiting their more talented players, and for the most part have kept scoring chances to the outside.
The Habs enter a crucial Game 5 with a decisive edge in 5v5 play, controlling the expected goals and overall shot attempts. They’ve also impressively doubled the Flyers in high-danger scoring chances, though their conversion on these remains the key issue for Montreal going forward.
Carter Hart has been exceptional for Philadelphia outside of a Game 2 debacle. For Montreal, Carey Price has been steady as well – though a rusty Game 4 will make him hungry for Game 5 redemption.
The market still has yet to fully react to the success of Montreal from the qualifying round and appreciate their style of play. This is a fast and deep side, and one that troubled Pittsburgh and is troubling Philadelphia. The only difference right now is that Carter Hart is making countless saves, whereas the Pens’ goalies simply did not.
Eventually shooting percentage should regress, and I’ve seen enough to suggest it’s going to happen soon for Montreal. Their process remains solid and their team is executing well enough that goals should come. They drive play like few other squads, and in a desperation setting – expect new coach Kirk Muller to pull out all the stops for the Habs to get some goals.
At a lofty +125 underdog price, you could make the argument that based on form and the underlying stats, you’re getting the better team at a juicy price point. While the Habs can’t out-skill Philadelphia, they have been collectively outplaying the Flyers, especially at 5v5.
Look for Montreal to be better on special teams and finally score a goal in Game 5. Once they get one or two past Carter Hart, that confidence should go their legs and expect the fast-skating Habs to hang on for a key Game 5 victory.
Pick: Montreal 3-2