Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens Free Pick

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Bell Centre is playing host an East-West matchup as the Vancouver Canucks visit Quebec to meet the Montreal Canadiens. It’s the last time that the two clubs will meet in the regular season. The opening face-off takes place at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 7, and you’ll be able to catch it live on Reseau Des Sports.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens Odds

Losing -10.6 units for moneyline bettors, the Canadiens are 17-24 straight up (SU) overall this year. That early-season winning percentage is a regression from the 47-35 record that the team posted during last years regular season campaign. Through 41 regular season contests, 23 of its games have gone under the total, while 16 have gone over and just two have pushed. This season, the team is 10-11 SU at home.

Montreal has converted on 18.9 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a figure that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 26th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 77.9 percent of all penalties.

Montreal, as a collective unit, has been whistled for penalties 3.9 times per game overall this season, 3.8 per game over its past five contests total, and 3.6 per game over its last five home outings. The team has had to kill penalties for just 6.8 minutes per game over its last 10 outings, in total.

Averaging 28.1 saves per game with a .910 save percentage, Carey Price (12-16-2) has been the primary goalkeeper for the Canadiens this year. If head coach Claude Julien chooses to give him a breather, however, the team may go with Charlie Lindgren (3-5-5 record, .924 save percentage, 2.43 goals against average).

Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk will each be offensive focal points for the Canadiens. Pacioretty (22 points) has produced nine goals and 13 assists and has recorded multiple points on four different occasions this year. Galchenyuk has nine goals and 13 assists to his name and has notched at least one point in 18 contests.

On the other bench, Vancouver is 16-25 straight up (SU) and has lost 3.5 units for moneyline bettors thus far. A total of 23 of its outings have gone over the total, while 17 have gone under and none have pushed. As the visiting team, Vancouver is 9-10 SU so far.

Vancouver has scored on 20.9 percent of its power play chances this season, a mark that places it in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 26th overall and it’s successfully killed off 77.9 percent of all opponent power plays.

Vancouver’s skaters have been penalized 4.0 times per game in total this season, 3.4 per game over their past five match ups total, and 4.2 per game over their last five on the road. The teams had to kill penalties just 7.4 minutes per game over their last five outings.

Jacob Markstrom (26.1 saves per game) has been the primary option in goal for Vancouver. Markstrom owns a 10-20-5 record, while registering a .907 save percentage and 2.76 goals against average this year.

Leading the offensive counter for the visiting Canucks will be Brock Boeser, who has 22 goals and 17 assists on the year.

Vancouver Canucks at Montreal Canadiens Free Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Canadiens, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • The under has hit in each of Montreal’s last five outings.
  • The Canadiens are 5-13 SU when they serve more penalty minutes than their opponent while the Canucks are 9-10 SU in games where they serve more minutes than their opponent.
  • Vancouver is 0-3 in games decided by a shootout this season while Montreal is 2-1 in shootouts.
  • Montreal is ranked 20th this season with 6.6 takeaways per game. That figures trended upward recently, as the team has averaged 8.9 takeaways over its last 10 games and 9.8 takeaways over its last five.
  • Vancouver has given up 4.0 goals per game (while managing just 1.7 goals per contest) over its three-game losing skid.
  • Vancouver skaters have managed 5.6 takeaways per game over its last five road games, right in line with its season average of 5.7 takeaways per game (ranked 27th overall).
  • Montreal may hold an advantage if it’s a tight one late. The teams 9-6 in games decided by one goal, while Vancouver is 5-9 in such games.