#54 Montreal Canadiensvs.#53 Winnipeg Jets
Saturday, February 2 2017, at 2:05pm EST
Written by David Hess
Winnipeg Jets (26-29-4-1 SU, 29-31 PL, 31-22-7 O/U) vs Montreal Canadiens (31-19-6-2 SU, 32-26 PL, 24-24-10 O/U)
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 18, 2017
Where: Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec
Lines: Montreal -169/ Winnipeg +147
Today on the NHL ice, the Winnipeg Jets will travel to the Bell Centre in Montreal Quebec to do battle with the Montreal Canadiens. The Jets enter this game off a tough 4-3 OT loss at Pittsburgh, while the Canadiens are off a 4-0 loss to the Bruins on the road. The Canadiens won the first meeting between these teams back in mid-January, by a score of 7-4. The home team has won four of the last five games in this series.
The Winnipeg Jets continue to struggle and play inconsistent hockey. They come in off a hard-fought 4-3 OT loss in Pittsburgh, in a game that they did lead 3-2 in the 3rd period. They had their chances to pull out a pretty big upset as they did outshoot the Pens 47-39, but just couldn’t get the job done. It was their 5th loss in their last six games and while they are in 5th place in the Central Division, they are just a few points out of the 8th spot in the Western playoff standings. Scoring in the loss to the Pens was Patrik Laine, which was his team-leading 27th of the year, Paul Postma, which was his 1st of the year and Dustin Byfuglien, which was his 8th of the year. The Jets have had real issues in the crease of late as they have now allowed 3.70 gpg in their last 10 games.
Taking the loss against the Pens was Connor Hellebuyck, who is now 18-7 with a 2.80 GAA, including 7-9 with a 3.23 GAA on the road, while vs the Canadiens in his career he has played one game and allowed three goals in just 14:01 in that game. He did not figure in the decision. Winnipeg enters this game ranked 9th in the league in scoring at 2.87 gpg, while also ranking 18th in shots taken (29.6 spg) and 19th in power play conversions, converting on 17.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have not been that good as they rank 28th in goals allowed, giving up 3.17 gpg, while also ranking 20th in shots allowed (31.0) and 29th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 23.3% of their chances.
The Montreal Canadiens had a real strong start to their year and they have used that start to stay in the top spot of the Atlantic Division all year so far, but still that is more a case of the fact that the rest of the division is rather weak. The Canadiens are really not playing all that well as they have gone just 1-6 in their last seven games and that prompted them to fire coach Michel Therrien and hire Claude Julien, who was fired by Boston a short while ago. He has his work cut out to get this team back on track as they have scored just 10 goals in their last seven games, getting shutout three times in those games, while allowing four goals in each of their last four games. Oddly enough, it was a 4-0 loss at Boston in their last game that led to the firing. The Canadiens started the year at 13-2, but they have since gone 18-25.
Absorbing the loss against the Bruins was Carey Price who is now 24-19 with a 2.46 GAA on the year, including 17-9 with a 2.20 GAA here at home, while vs the Jets in his career he has gone 12-7 with a 2.13 GAA. The Canadiens enter this game ranked 11th in the league in scoring at 2.83 gpg, while also ranking 20th in shots taken (29.5 spg) and 8th in power play conversions, converting on 21.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been solid as they are 8th in goals allowed, giving up 2.55 gpg, while also ranking 12th in shots allowed (29.9%) and 22nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.6% of their chances.
The Winnipeg Jets are not playing very good hockey at the moment, but neither are the Canadiens and they just fired their coach. Well it worked in Boston and now it should work for the Habs who have a ton of talent, but they have just lost their way after a very strong start. Their offense has struggled of late, but that should be rectified against a Winnipeg team that has allowed 3.7 gpg in their last 10 games. Price has struggled in the crease for the habs of late, but still he has a 12-7 record with a 2.13 GAA in his career vs the jets and he has a 17-9 record with a 2.20 GAA here at home for the year. Look for Julien to grab his first win as headman of the Canadiens.
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