Featured Video from Scott Steehn
Montreal Canadiens at St. Louis Blues
When and Where: Thursday, Jan. 10, Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Mo., 8 p.m. EST.
A pair of teams trending in opposite directions meet in St. Louis, where the Blues try to shake off their home woes against a Montreal Canadiens team currently playing its best road hockey this season.
Canadiens look to continue strong road play
Montreal (23-16-5) has a chance to sweep its two-game road swing after recording a 3-2 win at Detroit on Tuesday night, its fifth victory in six road games.
Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia scored 66 seconds apart in the second period, and Jeff Petry’s goal in the third proved to be the decisive one. Tomas Tatar had a pair of assists and Antti Niemi turned aside 30 shots.
Scoring in your hometown is one thing. Doing it with your father looking on from the stands is another.
It was quite the night for @PetryJ in Detroit.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) January 9, 2019
“That’s cool. Jeff’s been a great player for us all year. When we’ve really needed to rely on him, he’s been there and he stepped up and logged some heavy minutes for us,” Gallagher told the Habs’ official website about Petry, whose father was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. “We’re pretty fortunate to be able to play with him every game. For him to come in here and score in front of his dad, I’m sure it was pretty special.”
Max Domi also had an assist for his team-leading 39th point, but he did go without a goal for his 14th consecutive game. Petry, a defenseman, reached the 30-point mark for the second straight season with his second goal in five games.
Habs coach Claude Julien has yet to say whether Niemi will get a second straight start or turn to Carey Price, who made 23 saves in a 3-2 win over St. Louis on Oct. 17 when Gallagher scored the winning goal with 11 seconds to play.
Price is 5-5-2 with a 2.47 goals-against average against the Blues while Niemi is 10-10-4 with a 2.96 GAA. Niemi, though, is 0-1-2 in his last three matchups versus St. Louis and 0-3-2 in his last five at the Scottrade Center.
Blues still unable to string together wins
St. Louis (17-20-4) has alternated losses and wins in its last five games after a 3-1 defeat to Dallas on Tuesday night.
David Perron‘s goal accounted for the Blues’ offense as St. Louis was unable to generate much despite outshooting Dallas 22-11 in the final two periods. St. Louis has lost four of its last five home games, and after going 0 for 2 on the power play, dropped to 1 for 30 with the man advantage in its last 11 games at the Scottrade Center.
“Those two power plays, I thought we had good puck possession, good movement,” coach Craig Berube told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think we need to pass the puck better on the power play there and the shots we took missed the net or got blocked.”
With a goal last night, David Perron extended his current point streak to a career-high-tying 8 games. #stlblues
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) January 9, 2019
Perron, who is second on the Blues with 15 goals and 30 points, has four goals and seven assists during his eight-game run. He has recorded 17 of his points at home with eight goals and nine assists.
Jordan Binnington has a tough encore act from his first NHL start as he looks to record a second consecutive shutout. Binnington stoned the Flyers on 25 shots Monday in a 3-0 victory at Philadelphia. Overall, the 25-year-old has stopped 46 of 50 shots in three appearances.
The Blues are:
- 1-4 in their last five home games.
- 0-8 in the last eight of a third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- The under is 13-3 in their last 16 games vs. Atlantic Division opponents.
- The under is 12-4 in their last 16 games after scoring two or fewer goals in their previous game.
The Canadiens are:
- 5-0 in their last five in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- 5-1 in their last six road games.
- 5-1 in their last six games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- The under is 5-0 in their last five games.
- The under is 4-0 in their last four games vs. Central Division opponents.
- The under is 4-1 in their last five games vs. sub-.500 teams.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While Allen has not played all that badly of late despite his 1-4-0 record, he is getting little support offensively. Montreal is doing the little things right during its recent surge on the road and gone 4-1 in its last five one-goal games outside the Bell Centre.
The Blues might be able to find an end to their power play struggles at home — the Canadiens have given up a power-play goal in their last four road games — but their inconsistencies are just too much to ignore given Montreal’s current road form.
Prediction: Pick: Canadiens +110
Full-Game Total Pick
Neither team has shown much offensive pop of late — Montreal’s last five games have had five or fewer goals while St. Louis has had six or fewer markers in seven of its last 10 contests. The Canadiens have not scored more than three goals in their last five games while the Blues have done so just once in their last six.
Binnington throws some risk into this pick, but with a young goaltender comes a simplified defense-first game plan that should help the under in this regards as does Price’s return between the pipes for Montreal.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 6 goals
Half-Time Side Pick
The Canadiens have outscored opponents 7-5 in the first period of their six-game road surge, but are still a net minus-4 in scoring (40-44) in the opening 20 minutes overall. Montreal also did score the only first-period goal between the teams in the first meeting, so there is reason to try the Habs getting the half-goal at -195 against a Blues team which is plus-1 in net scoring in the opening stanza.
Prediction: Pick: Canadiens -105
Half-Time Total Bet
Merely a hunch that Price and Binnington keep this one low-scoring in the first 20 minutes. The Blues will try to protect the young keeper, and they also have not threatened much offensively of late to believe this game will devolve into a shootout early.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 1.5 goals (-105)