San Jose Sharks at Montreal Canadiens Matchup Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

In their last head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens meet at Bell Centre in a cross-continent showdown. Reseau Des Sports will air the game, which gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 2.

San Jose Sharks vs. Montreal Canadiens Odds

With a moneyline of -115, Montreal enters the contest as the slight favorite. The line for San Jose sits at -105, and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals. The line for betting the total stands at -130 under, +110 over.

San Jose is 20-16 straight up (SU) and has lost 0.6 units for moneyline bettors thus far. 23 of its outings have gone under the total, while 12 have gone over and just one has pushed. As the away team in 2017-18, the Sharks are 8-8 SU.

San Jose has converted on 22.0 percent of its power play chances this year, a figure that’s good enough for sixth-best in the league. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked third overall, and it has successfully killed off 85.6 percent of all penalties.

For the team as a whole, San Jose has been sent to the penalty box 3.9 times per game overall this season, and 5.0 per game over its last five on the road. The teams had to kill penalties just 8.4 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Boasting a .914 save percentage and 25.7 saves per game, Martin Jones (13-13-4) has been the best option in goal for San Jose this season. If head coach Peter Deboer decides to rest him, however, the team might roll with Aaron Dell (7-7-1 record, .931 save percentage, 2.06 goals against average).

Joe Thornton and Logan Couture will both be relied on to produce for the visiting Sharks. Thornton has 26 points via seven goals and 19 assists, and has recorded multiple points in four different games. Couture has 15 goals and 11 assists to his creditand has notched at least one point in 15 games.

Over on the other bench, Montreal is 16-23 straight up (SU) and has lost 10.9 units for moneyline bettors thus far. Through 39 regular season contests, 21 of its games have gone under the total, while 16 have gone over and just two have pushed. The teams 9-10 SU at home this season.

Montreal has converted on 19.1 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 77.7 percent of all opponent power plays.

Montreal players have been sent to the penalty box 3.9 times per game in total this season, 3.8 per game over their past five games total, and 3.8 per game over their last five home outings. The teams had to kill penalties just 7.7 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Carey Price (27.5 saves per game) has been the top netminder in goal for Montreal. Price has 11 wins, 15 losses, and two overtime losses and has recorded a pedestrian 2.97 goals against average and a subpar .907 save percentage this year.

Phillip Danault (seven goals, 14 assists) and Alex Galchenyuk (nine goals, 12 assists) will pace the offensive counter for the Canadiens.

San Jose Sharks vs. Montreal Canadiens Free Picks

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

Betting Trends

  • 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 Sharks are 7-6 SU in games where they spend more time in the box than the opposition.
  • San Jose is 2-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Montreal is 1-1 in shootouts.
  • Montreal is ranked 20th in the NHL this season with 6.5 takeaways per game. That figure has trended upward lately, as the team has managed 7.9 takeaways over its last 10 games and 10.4 takeaways over its last five.
  • One of the best at creating pressure on opposing puckhandlers, San Jose is ranked fourth overall with 10.4 takeaways per game. That figure has trended lower, however, as the team has forced 9.1 takeaways over its last 10 games and 7.0 takeaways over its last five.