The Montreal Canadiens notched their fourth win in a row last night with an impressive win in Columbus. The Canadiens never trailed after going ahead in the 1st period. Columbus didn’t have an answer for Carey Price, who was tremendous in net for the Canadiens. He turned back 34 shots in the winning effort. A hot Price is bad news for the rest of the teams in the Eastern Conference in the second-half.
Considering how tight things are, Price playing at an elite level may be the difference between the Canadiens or another team going to the playoffs. From their overall body of work, the Canadiens are a playoff team when Price is playing well.
They have proven to have enough talent elsewhere on the ice to do some damage if Price is up to par between the pipes. If he didn’t have the slow start, we’d be talking about the Canadiens in a much better position standings wise. With Price getting the nod last night, it’s likely that his backup, Antti Niemi, will get the call against the Flyers on Saturday evening.
The name Niemi might make some Habs’ fans cringe, but he has been stepping his game up lately. On a three-game winning streak, Niemi has been more of a help than liability recently. The same goes for Price, so if they can have both of them playing better than they were earlier in the season, the Canadiens suddenly have a well-rounded team. It wasn’t the case over the first couple of months in Montreal. Surprisingly the offence, led by Max Domi, was keeping this team afloat as they waited for the goaltending to follow. Head below for our free Flyers vs. Canadiens pick.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick
The Flyers enter with a couple of impressive wins under their belt. They knocked off the Wild, 7-4, and then followed that up with a 4-3 win over the Bruins. They’ve won three of their last four games, but this is on the heels of an eight-game losing streak. They had to start winning a game here and there eventually. Who they beat was a pretty good look for them, though.
The Bruins didn’t seem to take them seriously and they paid for it. However, all three of their recent wins came at home. It’s been a long time since they’ve gone on the road to win a game. It’s been nearly a month since Philadelphia has enjoyed a road win. Their last came on December 23rd against the New York Rangers. Prior to that, they beat the Sabres on December 8th in Buffalo. The Flyers have been abysmal with a record of 8-13-3 as visitors.
One streak going in their favour here is the Canadiens’ recent history against the Flyers. They’ve gone 0-5, with their last win coming in 2016. Nevertheless, the Canadiens were a miserable team last season, and it won’t be the same squad that the Flyers see on Saturday night.
The Habs have averaged 3.08 goals per game and allowed 2.83 per game at home this season. Niemi hopes to keep his recent success rolling. He has allowed an average of 1.6 goals in his last three starts. His save percentage of 0.96 is the most impressive, as he has allowed just 5 goals on 132 shots.
He turned back 52 shots against the Panthers in his most recent outing on Tuesday. Carter Hart will be his likely opponent tonight. The rookie has been good, but has struggled on the road in his first-year. Note that he owns a 3.46 GAA and 0.889 save percentage as opposed to a 2.51 GAA and 0.923 save percentage in Philadelphia.
The Canadiens are on a back-to-back after another quality win last night, but this team seems to be riding a lot of momentum. A letdown could be of a concern, though as a counter argument, the Flyers could be due after beating the Bruins the other night. I’d take a look at the Canadiens to get it done for a sixth straight win.