The NHL is set up with an action packed Saturday of hockey. Twelve games are up on the board throughout January 30. One of these games will be between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens. These two teams have had solid starts to this season and will look for a big win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
The Flames have earned a record of 2-3-1 to start out this new season, which has them sitting in sixth place of the North Division. Calgary has lost three straight games coming into this one and will look to bounce back with a victory on Saturday night. The Flames will look to come out quick as they look for the important first goal in this one.
Montreal has put up a record of 5-0-2 throughout the early portion of this season, which has them in second place of the North Division. The Canadiens have earned a point in all of their games so far and have won three in a row. Montreal will look to keep it going in this one as they try to climb to the top spot in the North. I expect the Canadiens to continue to come out strong.
These two teams are sitting on opposite sides of the division, which should lead to a good game on Saturday night. Both teams are meeting in the second half of a back to back, which should bump up the intensity in this one. If either team can get going early, it could be enough to give them the win. This one should be a great matchup on Saturday.
The Flames and the Canadiens met up twice throughout last season. Calgary hosted the first game on January 19. Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist, while Johnny Gaudreau earned two assists. It was not enough though. Arrturi Lehkonen had two assists for Montreal on the night. Max Domi scored the game winner in overtime to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win.
The second game of the season series shifted to Montreal on January 13. Jordan Weal opened up the scoring in the first period and Ryan Poehling added a goal in the third. David Rittich stopped 35 of 37 shots for the Flames, but once again it was not enough. Carey Price stopped all 31 shots he faced to lead the Canadiens to a 2-0 win at home.
The first game of this season’s series was in Montreal on January 28. Milan Lucic and Rasmus Andersson both scored for the Flames, but Calgary could not come back. Jonathan Drouin and Jesperi Kotkaniemi both had two assists. Four different players scored for the Canadiens as Montreal jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Carey Price stopped 23 of 25 shots as the Canadiens won 4-2.
Montreal is coming into this one on a six game winning streak against the Flames. Calgary was able to score twice on Thursday night against the Canadiens, but still came up short on the comeback. The Flames will look to finally turn their luck around in this one as they try to knock off Montreal. If Calgary can come out quicker in this one, they should be able to finally beat the Canadiens.
Calgary has been strong on the power play throughout this season, but their penalty kill has struggled. The Flames have capitalized on 9 of their 28 power play opportunities, which is a 32.1 percent success rate. Calgary has killed off 16 of the 21 penalties against, which is good for a 76.2 percent penalty kill. The Flames will look to improve on the penalty kill in this one.
The Canadiens have also been solid on the power play, but have struggled a bit on the penalty kill. Montreal has scored on 8 of their 26 power play chances, which is a 30.8 percent power play. The Canadiens have given up 7 goals on 32 of their opponents power play attempts, which is a 78.1 percent kill rate.
These two teams have been strong on the power play this season, but their penalty kill has struggled. The Flames have a slight power play edge in this one, but their penalty kill has struggled as well. Montreal has taken a lot of penalties this season and will need to stay out of the box in this one. If the Canadiens give Calgary a lot of power play chances, it could give a big edge to the Flames.
I expect Jacob Markstrom to get the nod in the crease for the Flames in this one. Markstrom has started five games this season, earning a record of 2-2-1 through those games. He has posted a save percentage of .911 and a 2.62 GAA so far this season. Markstrom’s last start came against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he stopped 17 of 21 shots in a losing effort.
Jake Allen will likely get the start in the net for Montreal on Saturday night. Allen has started twice this season, putting up a record of 2-0-0 this season. He has earned a .907 save percentage and a GAA of 2.01 throughout those starts. Allen’s last start was against the Edmonton Oilers, where he stopped 25 of 26 shots in the winning effort.
Both of these goalies have put up solid numbers so far this season. Markstrom has taken over the starting role after signing with the Flames in the offseason. Allen was acquired by the Canadiens via trade in the offseason and will look to keep up the solid numbers in the backup role. Both teams will look to score early to set the pace in this one.
The Flames are coming into this game on a small losing streak and will look to get back in the win column in this one. Calgary will look to step up in this one as they try to bounce back against the Canadiens in this one. Montreal has won six straight against the Flames, but I think Calgary can end that streak with a win in this one.
BetOnline has Montreal listed as a -123 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Canadiens will win this game around 55.2 percent of the time. I that Montreal has earned this line, but I think that the Flames will earn a win in this one. Calgary will look to dominate early in this matchup as they look for a big win on Saturday night.