The Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers each shocked the hockey world when they secured their current spots. The Canadiens entered NHL postseason play as the team with the least regular-season points of all 24 invited. That didn’t stop Montreal from snuffing the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in their qualifying series.
Philadelphia recorded the fourth-most points in the Eastern Conference, and earned the top seed by sweeping the round-robin tournament. The Flyers took it to the Bruins, Capitals, and Lightning, winning all three games convincingly. Each of the teams Philly defeated had more regular-season points than they did.
The Canadiens and the Flyers each embraced the underdog role, in their respective situations, and came out on top. Only one can advance to the next round.
First Round Series Schedule | Montreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Canadiens vs. Flyers, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Friday, Aug. 14: Canadiens vs. Flyers, 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 16: Flyers vs. Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Flyers vs. Canadiens, 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Canadiens vs. Flyers (TBD)
Friday, Aug. 21: Flyers vs. Canadiens (TBD)
Sunday, Aug. 23: Canadiens vs. Flyers (TBD)
The Flyers won the regular-season series, 2-1. On Nov. 7, Philadelphia defeated Montreal 3-2 in overtime on a shot from Sean Couturier that squirted past Carey Price, who made 40 saves.
Their next head-to-head matchup Nov. 30 wound up going to overtime as well. Philly’s backup goalie Brian Elliott kicked aside 39 shots to help defeat Montreal, 4-3. Defenceman Ivan Provorov knifed through the Habs’ D to net the game-winner. Provorov made a nifty move on Canadiens backup netminder Keith Kinkaid, who was waived two days after the loss. Kinkaid was assigned to Montreal’s AHL affiliate after he wasn’t claimed.
Life is short and you have to make the most of your opportunities! Just ask Keith Kinkaid. There probably aren’t any prop bets in existence that let you choose what goalie will be waived after the game, but we’ve got plenty of other fun ways to bet on the NHL. Check out our sportsbook to see all of the current NHL odds.
Price had his revenge in the final regular-season matchup with Philadelphia on Jan. 16. Once again, Price stopped 40 shots, but this time Montreal rolled Philly, 4-1. No overtime necessary. Canadiens winger Ilya Kovalchuk (now on the Capitals) scored two goals and the Flyers never got going.
Goaltenders | Montreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers
Price is one of the best netminders in the league. His regular-season record of 27-25-6 is almost pedestrian, but Montreal ranked in the bottom half of the NHL in goals scored and their special-teams play was fairly atrocious.
Price reminded the NHL what he is capable of when the Habs eliminated the Penguins in Game 4 of their qualifying series. He allowed a total of seven goals in posting a 3-1 record with a 1.67 GAA and a .947 SV%. For good measure, Price pitched a shutout to end the Penguins’ season.
Carter Hart’s regular-season record was 24-13-3, with a 2.42 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Hart is evolving into a force for the Flyers. He’s 2-0 in the 2019-20 postseason, with a glistening 1.00 GAA and .966 SV%.
In this Round 1 playoff series, Hart is facing the goalie he grew up idolizing. Price was Hart’s favorite player and now he’s across the ice from him. Hart has played Price three times before (1-2), but never in a playoff game. The 22-year-old Hart is preparing to snatch the torch from his childhood hero.
Advantage: Canadiens (but it won’t be enough)
Stanley Cup Odds
Preseason Stanley Cup Odds had both the Canadiens (+4000) and Flyers (+3250) cast as longshots. Montreal still has a pretty high moneyline now at +2800, but Philadelphia’s betting odds have vastly improved, currently at +550. Only the Vegas Golden Knights, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Colorado Avalanche have better Stanley Cup odds than the Philadelphia Flyers.
Odds To Win Series | Montreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers
Here are the moneyline odds for the Habs-Flyers series that starts on Aug. 12:
Montreal Canadiens: +180
Philadelphia Flyers: -220
You can get in on this sweet betting action when you check out our NHL Series Prices.
Prediction: Philadelphia Flyers in 6 Games