The NHL is set up with another solid night of action on April 16. Five games will be up on the board throughout Friday night. One of these matchups will be between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens. These two teams will look for an important win on Friday night, which should lead to a solid game. This matchup will drop the puck at around 6:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN+.
Calgary has put up a record of 19-21-3 throughout this season, which has them in fifth place of the North Division. The Flames are four points out of a playoff spot and need to finish the season strong. Calgary has won three games in a row and will look to keep it up in this one. I expect the Flames to try and push the pace early on Friday night.
The Canadiens have earned a record of 18-13-9 to this point in the season, which has them in fourth place of the North Division. Montreal has a four point lead on the Flames and three games in hand. The Canadiens will look to really hurt Calgary’s playoff chances with a win on Friday night. Montreal is coming off a loss and have lost four of their last five.
These two teams are battling it out for the last playoff spot in the North Division, which should lead to an exciting matchup on Friday. Montreal has a solid lead as of now with those three games in hand, but if they keep up this losing streak, they could lose that playoff spot. The Canadiens can really hurt Calgary with a win in this one though.
The Flames and Canadiens have met up fives times so far this season. Montreal hosted the first two games on January 28 and 30. Jonathan Drouin and Jesperi Kotkaniemi both had two assists in the first game as the Canadiens won 4-2 at home. Elias Lindholm had two assists in the second game, while Mikael Backlund and Johnny Gaudreau both scored. Calgary earned a 2-0 win on the road in that one.
The third and fourth game of the season series shifted to Calgary on March 11 and 13. Josh Leivo scored twice in the third game, while both Derek Ryan and Sam Bennett had two assists. The Flames earned a 2-1 win in that one. Sean Monahan scored twice in the fourth game. Jacob Markstrom stopped 24 of 25 shots to seal a 3-1 win for Calgary at home.
Montreal hosted the fifth and most recent game of the season series on April 14. Brett Kulak scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, which was not enough. Mark Giordano had a goal and an assist, while Chris Tanev tallied two assists on the night. Jacob Markstrom finished with 26 saves on 27 shots as the Flames earned a 4-1 win on the road.
These two teams have met up five times so far this season with Calgary winning four of the five. Montreal was able to win the first game of the season series, but it has been all the Flames since. Calgary has outscored the Canadiens 11-3 in the last four games and will look to keep it up in this one. Montreal needs to switch things up if they want to break out of this slump against the Flames.
The Flames have been around the league average on both the power play and penalty kill this season. Calgary has capitalized on 28 of their 138 power play chances, which is a 20.3 percent power play. The Flames have killed off 110 of their opponents 136 power play attempts, which is an 80.9 percent kill rate. Calgary will look to keep it up in this one.
Montreal has been solid on the power play throughout this season. The Canadiens have scored on 22 of their 109 power play opportunities, which is a 20.2 percent success rate. Montreal has struggled a bit on the penalty kill though. The Canadiens have given up 30 power play goals on 130 penalties against, which is a 76.9 percent penalty kill.
Calgary has the edge on special teams in this meeting with the better power play and penalty kill. These two teams have put up similar power play numbers, but the Flames penalty kill has been much better. Montreal will need to hold off Calgary’s power play in this one. If either team can capitalize on the man advantage though, it could be enough for the win.
Jacob Markstrom will likely get the nod between the pipes for Calgary in this one. Markstrom has started in 31 games this season, going 15-14-2 so far. He has put up a .903 save percentage and a GAA of 2.81. Markstrom’s last start was against Montreal where he stopped 26 of 27 shots in route to his third straight win.
I expect Jake Allen to get the start in the crease for the Canadiens on Friday night. Allen has earned a record of 6-7-4 through his 17 starts this season. He has posted a save percentage of .912 and a 2.53 GAA in those games played. Allen finished with 30 saves on 33 shots in his last start against the Flames, which was not enough for the win.
These two goalies have been solid throughout this season. Allen has posted slightly better numbers through his starts, but Markstrom has been heating up as of late. Montreal will look to test Markstrom early to try and break through. Allen has lost four of his last five and will look to get back in the win column with a strong performance on Friday night.
The Canadiens have been the better team throughout this season, but Calgary has had their number. I think Montreal will be able to bounce back in this one though. If the Canadiens can neutralize the Flames power play, I think Montreal can win this game with their five on five play. I also like Allen to have a bounce back game in this one.
BetOnline has the Canadiens listed as a -133 against the money line in this one. This implies that Montreal will win this game around 57.1 percent of the time. I agree with this line with how streaky these two teams have been. The Flames have been really hot as of late, but I think the Canadiens can slow them down with a heartbreaking defeat on Friday night.