The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks meet for the third time since January 20 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. It feels like a playoff series of sorts, but it’s regular season series hockey. Perhaps the better comparison is Major League Baseball or when there were only six teams in the NHL. Original Six teams played each other continually and rivalries were born as a result of seeing the same team over and over again.
There has always been a rooted rivalry between Canadian teams in the NHL, so they don’t need any introduction. I think once we get deeper into the season, and games begin to matter a lot more, some of these regular season series meetings are going to feel more like a playoff series.
The Canadians are off to a fast start this season with a record of 3-0-1 and eight points. They are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who moved up into a tie with the Canadiens thanks to their 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers a night ago.
The Canadiens have played one fewer game than the Maple Leafs, so with that taken into consideration, they have a slight edge on the Leafs. If the Canucks beat the Canadiens, then they will be a true tie for the lead in the North Division.
Only five games into the season, it’s far too early to go into too detail regarding the standings. Keep in mind that there’s only five points separating last from first in the North Division. That said, no, the Ottawa Senators are not going to go from last to first, but the verdict is still out on the Canadiens.
The Habs are coming off a 7-3 win over the Canucks on Thursday. Joel Armia and Tyler Toffoli both scored twice, while Jake Evans and Ben Chiarot each got on the board with a goal. The Canadiens sent 42 shots towards Thatcher Demko, as he buckled under all of the pressure to allow 7 goals for a 0.833 save percentage.
The Canucks go into Saturday with a record of 2-4-0 following the loss. Prior to that outing, the Canucks won the first meeting, a 6-5 win in a shootout Wednesday. Neither netminder was in good form, as Carey Price allowed 5 goals on 28 shots, while Braden Holtby gave up 5 goals on 36 shots. Head below for our free Canadiens vs. Canucks pick on January 23, 2021.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Vancouver Canucks NHL Betting Odds:
Canadiens vs. Canucks Prediction:
The Montreal Canadiens have to be feeling good about where they are going into Saturday. Their offence has been on fire, and the addition of former Canuck, Tyler Toffoli, has seemed to pay off for the Habs so far. This quick strike offence isn’t something we’ve been used to with the Canadiens in recent memory.
Depending on Carey Price to steal games was essentially their game plan. However, if the offence can keep playing like this, then a lot of pressure will be taken off Price’s shoulders. The Canadiens have scored at least 3 goals through their first five games. In four out of five outings, The Canadiens have recorded at least 4 goals. They’re second in the NHL with an average of 4.8 goals scored per game. When you put pucks on net, good things tend to happen. That’s what is going on for the Canadiens.
Montreal leads the NHL with 36 shots per game. Instead of sitting back and letting the game come to them, Claude Julien has employed a more aggressive attack offensively and it’s been paying off. Whether they’re still doing the same in a month remains to be seen, but the Canadiens certainly have more suitable personnel to do it than they have in the past. The fireworks on offence against the Canucks could be attributed to a sloppy Vancouver defence as well.
They have been horrible in getting back to the defensive zone and backchecking. The Canadiens, along with the Flames have been able to make them pay. Note that the Canucks have conceded at least 5 goals in three straight games. They’re 30th in the league with 4.7 goals against per game. The Canucks are also 28th in shots against with 37. After a high-scoring 6-5 game in the first meeting, the goals didn’t stop in the 7-3 win for the Habs on Thursday. I’m not expecting 10 or 11 goals again, but at plus money, the OVER looks too good to pass up in what very well looks like a 4-3 final score.