PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (12-4-2, 26 pts)
at MONTREAL CANADIENS (11-5-1, 23 pts)
Puck drops: Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Montreal -120, Philadelphia +100 Total: 5.5
Two division leaders battle on Tuesday in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals when the Canadiens host the Flyers.
Philadelphia has been dominant on both sides of the puck this season. Only the Capitals average more goals per game (3.55 to 3.49) and only the Bruins and Wild have a higher save percentage than the Flyers who are tied with Montreal at .924. Claude Giroux and Mike Richards were again Philly’s keys to success in its 5-1 win over Ottawa on Monday night. Giroux now has three goals and four assists in the Flyers past three games (all wins). Richards recorded his second straight two-goal game on Monday and now has seven goals in his past six games. Sergei Bobrovsky has been dominant during the Flyers past 10 games, going 9-0-1 with a 1.70 GAA and a .946 save percentage. Odds.
When the Canadiens traded playoff hero goaltender Jaroslav Halak, the fans were very upset and had little confidence that Carey Price could live up to the potential that made him the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft. Price has handled the pressure wonderfully as he is one of four goaltenders with 10 wins on the season, while posting a 2.18 GAA and .923 save percentage. Price, who was left off the NHL All-Star Game ballot last week, earned top billing on the league’s weekly three-star selections after posting a 3-0 record with a 1.00 GAA, a .970 save percentage and a shutout. “It’s only one week and when you’re honored like this, it’s a team honor,” Price said. “The guys have done a tremendous job in front of me.” Price has been getting more support than he and Halak received last season, when the Canadiens ranked a dismal 25th in shots allowed with an average of 32.1 shots a game. That’s down to 27.1 shots a game this season and only four teams have allowed fewer per game. Scores.
Michael Leighton (back), Daniel Carcillo (MCL), Matt Walker (hip) and Ian Laperriere (post-concussion syndrome) are all out for Philadelphia. Montreal will be without defenseman Andrei Markov, who injured his right knee on Saturday after colliding with Eric Staal. It is unknown how long Markov will be out.
The Flyers are the hottest team in the NHL entering the game, having earned 19 of a possible 20 points in their past 10 games. Montreal has won three straight games. It’s very unusual that a team on a streak such as the Flyers would be an underdog, but that’s the spot they find themselves in Tuesday. I’m taking Philadelphia to win.
MONTREAL is 1-8 ATS (-9.2 Units) in home games against excellent defensive teams – allowing <=2.4 goals/game over the last 3 seasons. The average score was MONTREAL 2.0, OPPONENT 2.9 – (Rating = 1*).
Also with two of the top five stingiest teams in the NHL opposing each other, I’m taking the Under.
Play Under – Any team against the total (PHILADELPHIA) – off a home win by 2 goals or more, a good team (60% to 70%) playing a team with a winning record in the first half of the season. (51-17 over the last 5 seasons.) (75%, +33 units. Rating = 4*). Las Vegas odds.
Play Under – Road teams against the total (PHILADELPHIA) – after a 2 game unbeaten streak, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team in the first half of the season. (116-57 over the last 5 seasons.) (67.1%, +52 units. Rating = 3*).