In their second head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins meet at PPG Paints Arena for an Eastern Conference showdown. Sportsnet will air the matchup, and the action gets going at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 21.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Odds
Pittsburgh is 41-32 straight up (SU) and has earned moneyline bettors 0.1 units this season. That winning percentage, the second-best in the Metropolitan Division in this young season, is a regression from the 50-32 record that the team posted during last year’s regular season campaign. Of the team’s 73 games this season, 40 have gone over the total, while 30 have gone under and just two have pushed. The team is 26-9 SU at home this year.
The Penguins currently have the second-strongest power-play unit in the NHL, as they’ve scored on 25.7 percent of their extra-man advantages this season. On the other hand, their penalty kill is ranked 17th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 80.3 percent of all penalties.
As a team, the Penguins have been penalized 4.0 times per game overall this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five outings at home. The team has been forced to defend opponent power plays for just 7.7 minutes per game over their last 10 outings, in total.
Averaging 25.9 saves per game with a .909 save percentage, Matt Murray (25-17-2) has been the best option in goal for the Pens this season. Murray did just play last night, however, so head coach Mike Sullivan might decide to give him a breather and instead roll with Tristan Jarry (15-11-11 record, .908 save percentage, 2.77 goals against average).
The Pens will continue seeking offensive production via Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Malkin (89 points) is up to 40 goals and 49 assists and has recorded multiple points 24 times this year. Kessel has 29 goals and 51 assists to his name and has recorded at least one point in 50 contests.
On the other bench, Montreal is 26-47 straight up (SU) and has lost 23.9 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 73 regular season outings, 40 of its games have gone under the total, while 31 have gone over and just two have pushed. The Canadiens are 9-27 SU as the road team this season.
The Canadiens have converted on 20.6 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 29th overall and it’s successfully killed off 75.2 percent of all penalties.
Montreal’s skaters have been penalized 3.8 times per game this season, and 4.5 per game over their last ten outings. The team’s had to kill penalties 9.0 minutes per game over their last five road outings.
Carey Price (27.3 saves per game) has been the primary choice in goal for Montreal. Price owns a 15-28-6 record, and has registered a .904 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average this year.
Alex Galchenyuk (16 goals, 28 assists) has been one of the top playmaking threats for the visiting Canadiens.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Free Picks
Free NHL Tip: SU Winner – Penguins, O/U – Under
- Montreal is 2-6 in games decided by a shootout this season while Pittsburgh is 2-2 in shootouts.
- The over has hit in four of Pittsburgh’s last five outings.
- Two clubs that put the puck on net a lot, Montreal has registered the league’s ninth-most shots on goal (33.2) while Pittsburgh has attempted the second-most (34.4).
- Eight of Montreal’s last ten games have been decided by two goals or more. The team is 2-6 in those games.
- This game features two of the more physical defenses in the league. Montreal skaters have accounted for the league’s second-most hits per game (26.0) and the Pens have handed the eighth-most (23.9).