The Montreal Canadiens will look to pull another win out of the hat against a quality opponent on Saturday. The Canadiens have been one of the surprise teams of the first month of the season, and they capped it off nicely with a 6-4 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champs. With a 4-3 deficit late in regulation, the Canadiens scored to tie it up, then scored again, and 2 seconds later it was a 6-4 game. The 2 seconds between the 5th and 6th goal broke an NHL record that dates back to 1935.
It would have been more impressive if it happened with a goaltender in the net for the 6th goal, but give the Canadiens some credit for the effort. The win was their 7th of the year to push their record to 7-3-2. A good October for a team who weren’t expected to compete this season. The injury to Shea Weber, who will be out until mid-December, made it easy on people to predict a poor year. The trade of Max Pacioretty, though, you probably would have gotten mixed answers. Alex Galchenyuk was also traded to take away an offensive weapon.
Thus far, anyway, it’s looked like a little bit of addition by subtraction with Pacioretty. Vegas hasn’t gotten off to the best start, so Pacioretty hasn’t exactly made the Golden Knights any better. The emergence of Max Domi has all but made people forget about Pacioretty. His game has beginning to blossom with his new team in Montreal. The Coyotes could never really develop a strong way to get Domi involved. We’ll see if the Canadiens can keep playing well until Weber makes his return on the blueline. It’s still way too early to establish where they are heading this year, despite the productive opening month. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Canadiens pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick
Tampa enter with a record of 8-3-1 following a 4-1 loss to the Predators. The Preds are the class of the Western Conference and they look on track to repeat as President’s Trophy Champions. That didn’t help them in the playoffs, though, as the Winnipeg Jets told them to sit down. In any event, the Lightning still lead the Eastern Conference with 17 points.
They blasted the Devils by a score of 8-3 before losing to the Predators. They’ve been a well-rounded team, backed with an offence punch and a capable goaltender. Andrei Vasilevskiy has looked great with a 2.09 GAA and 0.93 save percentage. He took only his second loss of the season against the Preds. Vasilevskiy has had a solid career against the Canadiens, with a 2.23 GAA and 0.926 save percentage. Conversely, Carey Price has a 2.49 GAA and 0.918 save percentage against the Bolts.
Tampa are scoring an average of 3.42 goals per game and allowing 2.83 per game. That puts them in the top-10 in both respects. Conversely, the Canadiens have surprisingly been playing well offensively, with 3.25 goals per game. It’s difficult to get a good read if that’s legit or just a blip in what is a long regular season.
After that wild win over the contending Washington Capitals, I can’t envision them knocking off the Lightning to make it two wins in a row against top squads. The Habs had to chase around Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps for 3 periods, and now they must do it against Steven Stamkos and the Lightning. I’d look at the Lightning for an NHL play on Saturday night.