MONTREAL CANADIENS (13-6-1, 27 pts)
at PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (13-6-2, 28 pts)
Puck drops: Monday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Philadelphia -160, Montreal +140 Total: 5.5
Two division leaders with almost identical records will get together at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Monday. Only an overtime loss separates the Canadiens (13-6-1) and Flyers (13-6-2) from matching records this season. Odds.
The two teams met last Tuesday in Montreal in a game that created some bad blood. Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban is earning a reputation around the National Hockey League as not only a skilled player, but one that might be too cocky for his own good. At least, according to Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards. Subban, who had an assist against the Flyers on Tuesday night, was also in the midst of most of the late-game skirmishes that occurred after Darroll Powe slammed Jeff Halpern’s head into the glass with a body check early in the third period. “He’s (Subban) a guy that’s come in the league and hasn’t earned respect,” Richards told the Team 990 radio station after the game. “It’s just frustrating to see a young guy like that come in here and so much as think that he’s better than a lot of people. You have to earn respect in this league. Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because, uh, I’m not saying I’m going to do it but something might happen to him of he continues to be that cocky.” Scores.
The Flyers are looking for a bit of revenge after Carey Price shut them out on Tuesday. That game exposed a weakness for the Flyers who allowed two power-play goals that game, and have allowed eight PPG in their last three games. The Flyers are tied for second in the NHL with 19 power-play goals allowed. They have also struggled a bit on their own power-play, converting just one of their past 19 chances with the man-advantage. Despite their struggles on the power-play, the Flyers have been excellent at even strength as they lead the NHL with 56 goals scored. Only the Bruins (1.65) have a better goals for/goal against ratio in 5-on-5 situations then the Flyers (1.63). Mike Richards has eight goals and 17 points in his past 13 games, and with 23 points on the season, he’s 10th in the NHL. The Flyers rank first with a +22 goal differential. No other NHL team has a differential of +20.
Carey Price never met Pat Burns, but the three-time Jack Adams Trophy-winning coach has had a major impact on the Canadiens goalie. Burns’ life was celebrated Saturday night prior to the Canadiens’ 2-0 shutout of the Maple Leafs. Price made 30 saves for his league-best fourth shutout. This season has been a major turnaround for Price, who has been receiving regular standing ovations from the same Montreal fans who booed him vociferously last season. And part of that turnaround can be credited to Burns. Burns sent a message to Price through Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller prior to the start of the season. While Price wouldn’t reveal what was in the note, it obviously made a tremendous impact. Price’s play is a major reason only the Bruins have allowed fewer goals (33) than Montreal (39) this season. On offense, Michael Cammalleri has three goals and five points in his past five games, and if history is any guide, he has a good chance of staying hot against the Flyers, considering he has three goals and five points in six regular-season games against them.
Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov is out indefinitely with a right knee injury. Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo is out for at least two weeks with a sprained left knee. Goalie Michael Leighton (back) and defenseman Matt Walker (hip) are continuing to practice while recovering from injuries that have sidelined them all season. Las Vegas odds.
After losing three straight home games in mid-October, the Flyers have gone 7-1 at the Wells Fargo Center, averaging 5.1 goals per game over that span. Price not only shut out the Flyers last week, but he is 5-1 with a 1.00 GAA, .970 save percentage and three shutouts in his past six games. The Canadiens own the NHL’s best penalty-kill, killing 90.5 pct of their opponents’ power-plays, but the Flyers are best when they are at even strength. I like Philadelphia to avenge its loss last week and end Price’s hot streak.
PHILADELPHIA is 21-4 ATS (+14.2 Units) in home games after covering 4 or 5 of their last 6 against the spread over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 3.8, OPPONENT 2.0 – (Rating = 2*).