#53 Montreal Canadiensvs.#54 Winnipeg Jets
Wednesday, January 1 2017, at 7:35pm EST
Written by David Hess
Montreal Canadiens (25-10-5-1 SU, 27-14 PL, 17-16-8 O/U) vs Winnipeg Jets (20-20-2-1 SU, 20-23 PL, 17-20-0 O/U)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 11, 2016
Where: MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Lines: Montreal -110/Winnipeg -110
Tonight in NHL action the Montreal Canadiens will battle it out with the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Canadiens check in off a 4-1 home loss to the Capitals, while the Jets check in off a 2-0 home win over Calgary. The Canadiens have won 11 of the last 15 games played in this series.
The Montreal Canadiens have a sizeable lead in the Atlantic Division, but they still are not playing great hockey overall. They come into his game off a showdown with the Capitals at home and they fell in that game by a score of 4-1. They just haven’t looked as dominant as they did earlier in the year, but they are still in great shape as the rest of their division has been rather weak this year. Despite the loss to the Caps, they have gone 15-6 at home for the year, while out on the road they have been a mediocre 10-10 on the road. The Canadiens did have a 1-0 lead over the caps on a goal by Tomas Plekanec, but after that, it was all Washington. The goal was his 4th of the year. The Canadiens will probably win their division, but can they get past the better teams in the Metro Division to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals? We shall see.
Taking the loss against the Capitals was Carey Price, who is now 20-10 with a 2.12 GAA on the year overall, including 6-4 with a 2.35 GAA on the road, while vs the 12-7 with a 2.13 GAA in his career. The Canadiens enter this game ranked 6th in the league in scoring at 3.02 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots taken (30.9 spg) and 11th in power play conversions, converting on 21.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been strong as they are 5th in goals allowed, giving up 2.34 gpg, while also ranking 15th in shots allowed (30.3) and 23rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.4% of their chances.
The Winnipeg Jets have been below average this year as they are 20-23 overall. They have been playing a bit better of late as they have won three of their last four games and they come in off a solid 2-0 win over Calgary at home. Connor Hellebuyck got the win vs the Flames after stopping all 28 shots that he faced in the game. It was his 3rd shutout of the year and the 5th of his career. On the year he is now 16-14 with a 2.65 GAA overall, including 10-6 with a 2.32 GAA here at home. This will be his first ever encounter with the Canadiens. The Jets have struggled on the road this year, but here at home they have been decent as they have gone 11-9. They Jets have some talent on their team, but will it be enough to top the Canadiens, who are coming off a rough home loss to the Capitals.
Scoring in the win over the Flames was Dustin Byfuglien, which was his 6th goal of the year and Blake Wheeler, who notched his 12th of the year. Patrick Laine still leads the team with 21 goals, but he is listed as questionable for this one with concussion symptoms. Winnipeg enters this game ranked 15th in the league in scoring at 2.70 gpg, while also ranking 24th in shots taken (28.8 spg) and 20th in power play conversions, converting on 16.8% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have not been that good as they rank 23rd in goals allowed, giving up 2.91 gpg, while also ranking 16th in shots allowed (30.3) and 26th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 22.4% of their chances.
The Jets have been playing better of late, while the Habs have not been nearly as good on the road as they are at home. Still, this is a game that they can and must win and they have gone 11-4 the last 15 games in this series. Montreal is clearly the better team in this game with the far better goaltending and their offense is far superior as well, especially with Winnipeg missing their top scorer. Take the Canadiens to grab a much-needed road win here.
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