The NHL is set up with another great slate of games throughout Monday. Ten games are up on the board throughout January 18. One of these games will be between the Montreal Canadiens and the Edmonton Oilers. These two teams will look to earn a big win in the second half of their back to back. This game will drop the puck at around 9:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN+.
Montreal finished out last season with a record of 31-31-9, which had them sitting in fifth place of the Atlantic Division. The Canadiens knocked off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifiers, but were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round. Montreal has opened up this season with a record of 1-0-1 and will look to keep it going in this one.
The Oilers posted a record of 37-25-9 throughout last season, which put them in second place of the Pacific Division. Edmonton was surprised by the Chicago Blackhawks in the qualifiers last season. The Oilers have gone 1-2 to open up this season. Edmonton lost the first game to the Canadiens on Saturday night and will look to earn a win in this one.
These two teams have been solid to open up the new season. The Canadiens have been a bit stronger with a win and an overtime loss. Edmonton will look to bounce back after losing to Montreal on Saturday night. The Oilers have been up and down in their first three games. If Edmonton can come out quicker in this one, I think they will be able to earn a win on January 18.
The Canadiens and the Oilers met up twice throughout last season. The first game was in Edmonton on December 21. Jeff Petry had a goal and two assists, while Phillip Danault and Max Domi scored. Josh Archibald, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid all had a goal and an assist for Edmonton. The Oilers were able to pull off the 4-3 win at home.
Montreal hosted the second game of the season series on January 9. Phillip Danault and Jesperi Kotkaniemi both scored for the Canadiens, but once again it was not enough. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist, while Leon Draisaitl had two assists. Mike Smith stopped 35 of 37 shots as the Oilers won 4-2 to sweep the two game series.
The first game of this season series was on Saturday night. Jeff Petry and Tomas Tatar both had two goals on the night. Phillip Danault and Brenden Gallagher both had two assists as Montreal was able to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Slater Koekkoek scored, but it was too late. Carey Price stopped 34 of 35 shots to help lead the Canadiens to a 5-1 win.
The Oilers were able to sweep the season series last season, but it was Montreal who was able to earn the win to open this season. The Canadiens were dominant from the start and caught Edmonton flat footed. The Oilers will need to have a much faster start to this one if they want to avoid another blowout to Montreal. The Canadiens will look to take over once again on Monday night.
The Canadiens were not great on special teams throughout last season. Montreal was able to capitalize on 33 of their 186 power play opportunities, which was a 17.7 percent power play. The Canadiens gave up 45 goals on 211 power play chances to their opponents, which was a 78.7 percent kill rate. Montreal will look to bounce back this season on special teams.
Edmonton had one of the most lethal special teams units throughout last season. The Oilers scored 59 power play goals on 200 attempts, which was a 29.5 percent success rate. Edmonton also killed off 168 of the 199 power play chances against them, which was an 84.4 percent penalty kill. The Oilers will look to repeat that success this season.
The Oilers were the much better team on special teams throughout last season. Montreal has capitalized on 3 of their 5 power play chances this season, while killing off 5 of the 7 power plays against them. The Oilers have scored on 2 of their 11 power plays opportunities, while killing off 8 of the 9 power play attempts against them. I expect Edmonton’s power play to pick it up as this season goes along.
I expect Carey Price to get the start in the crease for Montreal in this one. Price has opened up this season with a 1-0-1 record. He has posted a save percentage of .913 and a 2.92 GAA through those two games. Last season Price earned a .909 save percentage and a GAA of 2.79. Price will look to keep up the strong start after a great game against Edmonton on Saturday night.
Mikko Koskinen will likely get the nod in the net for the Oilers on Monday night. Koskinen has played in all three of Edmonton’s game to open up the new season. He has put up a save percentage of .892 and a GAA of 4.04 through those three games. Koskinen finished with a .917 save percentage and a 2.75 GAA throughout last season.
These two goalies had solid seasons last campaign. Price has had the better start to this season, especially after Saturday’s performance. Koskinen has struggled a bit throughout the first three games, but I expect him to step up in this one. I think that if the Oilers can give him some extra help with a quick start, he can put up a strong performance on Monday night.
Edmonton is coming into this one after being embarrassed by the Canadiens on Saturday night. I think that the Oilers will come out much better in this one. Edmonton will need to give Koskinen some more defense in this one. If the Oilers can come out quicker in this one, which I expect, they should be able to knock off Montreal on Monday night.
BetOnline has the Canadiens listed as a -110 against the money line in this one. This implies that Montreal will win this game around 52.4 percent of the time. I think that even after Saturday’s game, Edmonton should be favored. The Oilers will look to take over in the early stages of this game. If Edmonton comes out and puts the pressure on Carey Price, they should be able to bounce back.