The Montreal Canadiens (9-6-4) travel to Winnipeg Saturday night to face off against the Winnipeg Jets (12-6-1). The Canadiens are in the midst of a four-game losing streak after starting the season firing on all cylinders.
The Jets, on the other hand, are finally finding their groove, having won three straight. Both teams would make the playoffs if they started today, but if you’re a Canadiens fan, you should be concerned about their recent play.
Canadiens veteran netminder Carey Price currently has a discouraging save percentage of .888 in 12 starts. He’s expected to start for Montreal instead of Jake Allen, who’s outperformed the former Vezina winner so far.
Montreal has given up at least five goals in three of its last four games. Even when you possess one of the best offenses like the Canadiens do, you’re not going to win hockey games if this trend continues.
If you’re betting online on Saturday night’s game, the Canadiens’ moneyline is -135, while the Jets are sitting at +115. The over/under has been set at six goals.
Dubois Trade Panning Out
Winnipeg has been red-hot ever since center Pierre-Luc Dubois was inserted into the lineup. Dubois has five points in his last two games, while top forwards like Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler each have 20 points or more.
Factor in last year’s Vezina winner, Connor Hellebuyck, and this will be a team to be reckoned with going forward. This doesn’t seem to be a team that is missing Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, who went to Columbus in the Dubois trade.
For Montreal, Tyler Toffoli still leads the team in goals with 12. Toffoli cooled off a bit recently but now has three goals in his last five games. Defenseman Jeff Petry continues to have an incredible season for Montreal offensively with 18 points.
New Bench Boss
If you told me two weeks ago that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin would end up canning long-time head coach Claude Julien out of nowhere, I’d call you crazy. The Canadiens were 9-5-4 when the NHL news was made as the 60-year-old was axed.
It’s interesting, considering he’s been a pretty successful head coach in his life, having coached the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011. On a Zoom call with reporters this past week, Bergevin explained his decision to fire Julien, saying, “Sometimes the message needs to come from a different voice.”
Julien’s replacement is Dominique Ducharme. The majority of Ducharme’s previous head coaching experience came in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 2012-13, the 47-year-old coached the Halifax Mooseheads to a Memorial Cup Championship.
These two teams have only played each other once, with Winnipeg prevailing 6-3 this past Thursday. Montreal took a 2-0 lead in the first period with two goals by Joel Armia, but the Jets beat the NHL odds and stormed back with three goals in the second period and three in the third.
Kyle Connor scored twice, and captain Blake Wheeler collected three points. The Jets outshot the Canadiens 30-21 in this contest.
The Jets have all the momentum right now, so expect it to continue with another win against the faltering Canadiens. It’s a smart move right now to fade Carey Price in games he starts, given his struggles these past few months.
Winnipeg also has the third-best offense in the NHL and is second in shooting percentage (shots on net that result in a goal). The 33-year-old Price has given up five goals in two of his last three games and has only let in one goal or less twice in 2021.
When doing your NHL betting, take the Jets to win on the moneyline.