It’s a big night in Vancouver on Tuesday because the storied Montreal Canadiens, who are leading the Atlantic Division, make their only visit of the season. The Canucks need all the wins they can get as they are on the outside of the West playoffs looking in. They likely will be NHL betting underdogs here.
Montreal at Vancouver Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info
When: Tuesday, March 7, 10 PM ET
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver
TV: NHL Center Ice
Opening NHL Lines: Canadiens favored by TBA
Why bet on Montreal?
Montreal is playing great right now with five straight wins – allowing more than two goals just once in that stretch. On Saturday, they won at the Rangers 4-1 in a possible playoff preview and to start a four-game road trip. Carey Price made 26 saves. Price lost his shutout when Chris Kreider scored his 24th goal of the season at 1:44 of the third period. Price made the initial save on Kreider, but he left a rebound and Kreider buried it. Jordie Benn, who is best-known as a stay-at- home defenseman, matched that goal with a shot from the point at 6:58.
Despite losing twice, Price now has a seven-game streak in which he has bettered the .900 save percentage mark. His worst effort in that span was a .913 that came in a 3-0 loss to the Islanders on Feb. 23. It was the Canadiens’ fifth consecutive win and that marks their longest winning streak since they won eight in a row from Oct. 18 to Nov. 2.
Shea Weber opened the scoring at 12:51 of the first period when he threw a puck at the net and it deflected off Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening. It was Weber’s 15th of the season and his fourth in an even-strength situation.
Artturi Lehkonen scored at the 8:48 mark of the second and earned the game winning goal in the victory. Lehkonen’s goal provided the Canadiens a little breathing room. It was his 12th goal of the season and 17th point. Lehkonen made five shots on goal during the game, which was the most among the Canadiens.
Andrew Shaw and Jordie Benn also scored for the Canadiens. With Alexander Radulov sidelined, Brendan Gallagher played on Montreal’s top unit alongside Max Pacioretty and Phillip Danault. It will be interesting to see if Habs’ coach Claude Julien leaves him there when Radulov returns to action, possibly as soon as Tuesday. Gallagher was a force against the Rangers. Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk each had two assists for Montreal.
Why bet on Vancouver?
Vancouver won a second straight Sunday 2-1 in Anaheim to cap a three-game road trip. Richard Bachman made 43 saves, and Bo Horvat and Markus Granlund each scored. The 29-year- old Bachman got his first win since Oct. 30, 2015, in his first appearance this year for Vancouver.
Bachman has just a .909 save percentage in the AHL this season, but somehow stymied the Ducks’ heavy offense to claim his 19th career NHL win. His career record is 19-14- 2 with a 2.88 goals against average and .907 save percentage. Bachman acknowledged being nervous going into the game, but it never showed. He was solid throughout, including when he denied Rickard Rakell on a wraparound late in the third period.
Horvat notched his 20th goal of the season. The 21-year- old has shown steady development since breaking into the NHL in 2014, and now has 20 goals and 45 points in 64 games this season. He has five points in his past three games. Horvat is the first Canucks player to score 20 goals in a season prior to turning 22 years of age since Daniel Sedin in 2000-01.
Of the 115 players the organization has drafted since the 1999 (Daniel Sedin) draft, only seven have managed to score at least 20 goals in an NHL season. Of those four, only four did so with the Canucks (Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen, and now Horvat).
The win came at a loss, however, as forward Loui Eriksson left the game early after a hit by Anaheim forward Chris Wagner. The questionable hit resulted in Willie Desjardins moving Nikolay Goldobin alongside Horvat and Sven Baertschi on the team’s second line. Eriksson is expected to miss at least a couple of games.
Montreal at Vancouver Expert Pick: Montreal Canadians
Unless Price gets the night off for the Habs, they’ll get a road win.