The Montréal Canadiens will be looking to regain some rhythm when they take to the ice for the first time in 10 days to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Montréal last played on March 20.
Here you can find the best picks, news, and stats for this North Division battle at the Bell Centre. Montréal is the favorite at -135. This according to PointsBet Sportsbook, which puts the odds for Edmonton at +115 as the underdog.
Joel Armia who is out for Montréal under Covid-19 protocols. The same is true of Eric Staal and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
Oilers Fall in OT
The Edmonton Oilers (21-13-1) saw their three-game winning streak come to an end when they lost in overtime to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, 4-3. Edmonton faces Toronto again on Monday evening, but this preview was written prior to the conclusion of that contest. Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists in the contest and Connor McDavid added two assists.
Edmonton is fourth in the NHL in goals per game at 3.40 and is fourth in shooting percentage at 11.0%. The Oilers are fourth on the power-play at 26.8%. Those numbers are not surprising considering they have the top two scorers in the NHL in McDavid (62 points) and Draisaitl (53 points). McDavid has 41 assists to lead the NHL.
Edmonton is 17th in goals allowed at 2.89 per contest. They are 21st in penalty killing at 76.5%. Mike Smith will likely go on Monday, so it will be Mikko Koskinen between the pipes on Tuesday. Koskinen is 9-10-0 with a 3.11 GAA and a .903 save percentage. He has allowed two goals or fewer in four of his last five games.
How Rusty Will Montréal Be?
The Montréal Canadiens (14-8-9) have not taken to the ice since March 20 when they defeated Vancouver in a shootout, 5-4. That gives them 10 days off, which will make it interesting to see how the team responds to such a long layoff. Practice can never simulate game-time speed and intensity, so Montréal is likely to be rusty.
Montréal is 11th in the NHL in goals per game at 3.19. They are 16th in shooting percentage at 9.6% and are ninth on the power-play at 23.8%. Tyler Toffoli benefited from the layoff, returning from injured reserve. He is tied with Jeff Petry for the team lead in points with 27. Toffoli leads the team with 18 goals.
Carey Price will be in the net on Tuesday, and he will be the one to watch. Price is 10-5-5 with a 2.71 GAA and a .903 save percentage. He had allowed four goals in each of his previous two contests, so the break may give him some needed rest. However, goaltenders like to be in a rhythm and that is a long delay.
- 7-3 in their last 10.
- 12-2 in their last 14 games when playing on zero day’s rest.
- 5-11 in their last 16 games.
- 2-5 in their last seven games against teams with a winning record.
I would normally be all over a team facing off against an opponent who played the night before. However, 10 days is a long time in the NHL. I expect it to take at least one period for the Canadiens to find their rhythm. This was a team slumping before the long layoff, and it is going to take some time to build up some chemistry. Koskinen has looked great of late, and I like Edmonton in this game.
Pick: Take Edmonton at +115.
I expect Canadiens’ passes to be off the mark, shots to miss the net, and plenty of mistakes to be made early on. That is going to help to keep this score down. I think both Koskinen and Price will play fairly well, which should lead to a low-scoring affair as well. To be honest, I would like to push on this game, as I think six goals is right where this contest is going to end. Not given that option, I will take Edmonton to win in a close game.
Pick: Go under 6.0 at +100.