Montreal Canadiens vs. Florida Panthers Free Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

In their second head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers meet at the BB&T Center for an Atlantic Division tilt. CBC Sports will air the action, which gets underway at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 30.

Montreal Canadiens at Florida Panthers Odds

Florida enters the contest as the favorite with a moneyline of -130. The line for Montreal sits at +110, and the Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 6 goals. The line for betting the total stands at -120 for the under and +100 for the over.

The Panthers are 16-21 straight up (SU) and have lost 5.4 units for moneyline bettors thus far. That early-season winning percentage is right in line with what the team managed during the 2016-17 season (35-47). Out of the teams 37 regular season matches, 19 of them have gone under the total, while 18 have gone over and none have pushed. The teams 9-9 SU at home this year.

Florida has converted on just 16.2 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s ranked 24th overall in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 14th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.3 percent of all penalties.

Florida, as a collective unit, has been penalized 4.5 times per game overall this season, and 5.2 per game over its last five at home. The teams had to kill penalties for 11.6 minutes per game over its last five home outings.

Averaging 28.3 saves per game with a .909 save percentage, James Reimer (10-14-4) has been the top option in goal for the Panthers this season. If they decide to give him the night off, however, it may turn to Roberto Luongo (6-9-9 record, .928 save percentage, 2.62 goals against average).

Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck will each lead the offensive attack for the Panthers. Huberdeau (36 points) has produced 13 goals and 23 assists and has recorded multiple points nine times this year. Trocheck has 14 goals and 21 assists to his credit and has recorded at least one point in 26 games.

On the other bench, Montreal is 16-22 straight up (SU) and has lost 9.9 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 38 regular season matches, 20 of its games have gone under the total, while 16 have gone over and just two have pushed. Montreal’s 7-12 SU as the away team this season.

Montreal has converted on 19.1 percent of its power play chances this year, 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 77.2 percent of all penalties.

Montreal’s skaters have been penalized 4.0 times per game this season, 3.8 per game over their last five outings total, and 3.8 per game over their last five on the road. The team has had to kill penalties just 8.1 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Carey Price (27.3 saves per game) has been the primary option in goal for Montreal. Price has 11 wins, 14 losses, and two OT losses to his credit, and has registered a .906 save percentage and 3.00 goals against average this year.

For the visiting Canadiens, the offense will be facilitated through Phillip Danault (seven goals, 14 assists) and Brendan Gallagher (15 goals, six assists).

Montreal Canadiens at Florida Panthers Betting Predictions

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

Betting Trends

  • Montreal is 1-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Florida is 2-2 in shootouts.
  • The total has gone under in three of Florida’s last five outings.
  • Two offenses that fire the puck on goal a lot, Montreal has registered the leagues eighth-most shots on goal (33.5) and Florida has attempted the seventh-most (34.2).
  • Florida has allowed 3.3 goals per game overall this year, but has brought that figure down to 1.5 per contest in its past four games (the teams a perfect 0-0 SU over that span).
  • Over Montreal’s last ten games, six of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 1-5 in those games).
  • Montreal skaters have accounted for the fourth-most hits in the league (24.6 per game), but the teams recorded just 19.2 hits over their last five away games.