The Atlantic Division will square off with the Pacific Division this evening as the Montreal Canadiens grapple with the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Canadiens are off a 5-2 road loss at the hands of the Coyotes, while the Golden Knights are off a 4-1 home win over the Oilers. Goalie Probables: Getting the call for the Canadiens will be Carey Price and the Golden Knights will counter with Marc-Andre Fleury.
Habs Get Pounded By Lowly Coyotes
The Montreal Canadiens are a bad team and they showed it on Thursday night with a 5-2 loss to the lowly Arizona Coyotes on the road. It was their 4th loss in a row overall and their 5th loss in a row on the road. Montreal has been outscored 17-6 in those last five road games and it doesn’t figure to get much better in this one against the 2nd best team in the league. The Habs are now 8-19 away from home for the year and they have averaged 2.15 gpg and have allowed 3.41 gpg in those games. Their play on the road is one of the reasons why they will not be in the pose season. The other is because of an offense that has been among the worst in the league, which has put up just 2.13 gpg over their last eight games. The Habs were down 3-0 to the habs, but fought back to make it 3-2 before Arizona scored two goals over the final 9:14 of the game to seal the deal. Scoring in the loss to the Coyotes was Brendan Gallagher, which was his 21st of the year and Daniel Carr, which was his 4th.
Taking the loss against the Coyotes was Carey Price, who allowed five goals on just 21 shot attempts to fall to 15-26 with a 2.97 GAA and a .904 save percentage on the year, including 4-14 with a 3.38 GAA and a .896 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 124-122 with a 2.64 GAA and 33-30 with a 2.66 GAA against the Pacific Division. This will be his first meeting with the Golden Knights.
The Canadiens have been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 29th in the league in scoring at 2.53 gpg, while also ranking 6th in shots taken (34.0 spg) and 10th in power play conversions, converting on 21.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been poor so far as they come in ranked 24th in goals allowed, giving up 3.09 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots allowed (31.4%) and 26th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 22.3% of their chances.
Golden Knights Are Keeping Pace With The Lightning
The President’s Cup is awarded to the team that has the most points in the league and the Golden Knights have a great shot at capturing that award in their first year in the league, which would be a first for the NHL. The Golden Knights enter this game off a 4-1 home win over the Oilers to remain just one point behind the lightning for the most points in the league and they also increased their lead over the Predators to three points in the race for the top spot in the West, while their lead in the Pacific Division is 10 points over the Sharks. No matter what happens the rest of the way, the Golden Knights will be in the postseason and they will be a very dangerous team once they get there. Scoring in the win over the Oilers was Ryan Carpenter, which was his 4th of the year, Jonathan Marchessault, which was his 21st, William Karlsson, which was his 30th and Erik Haula, which was his 22nd. The Golden Knights have gone 21-6 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.56 gpg and have allowed 2.22.
Grabbing the win against the Oilers was Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 28 of the 29 shots that he faced to improve to 18-8 with a 2.03 GAA and a .933 save percentage on the year, including 9-5 with a 2.06 GAA and a .929 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 232-143 with a 2.41 GAA in his home games and 121-93 with a 2.62 GAA against the Atlantic Division, while against the Canadiens he has gone 21-15 with a 2.98 GAA.
The Golden Knights have been very good on offense so far as they rank 2nd in the league in scoring at 3.40 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (32.9 spg) and 12th in power play conversions, converting on 21.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very solid so far as they come in ranked 8th in goals allowed, giving up 2.68 gpg, while also ranking 6th in shots allowed (30.3 spg) and 14th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.3% of their chances.
- 8-22 in their last 30 vs. a team with a winning record
- 1-6 in their last seven road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- 17-5 in their last 22 games playing on one days rest
- 10-4 in their last 14 vs. the Eastern Conference
Can a struggling Montreal squad hang a rare home loss on the Golden Knights? I think not. Vegas has gone a strong 21-6 here at home for the year, while the Habs have gone just 8-19 on the road and they have been outscored 17-6 in their last five road games, which were all losses. They just lost by three goals at Arizona, so there is no reason to think that the Golden Knights can win this one just as easily. Carey Price has gone just 4-14 with a 3.38 GAA on the road this year and there is no chance that he slows down the 2nd best offense in the league. The Habs have averaged just 2.15 gpg on the road, while Vegas has allowed just 2.22 gpg at home. Montreal just won’t enough at either end of the ice to keep this one close and we close out that noting the Golden Knights will be looking for revenge after falling to Montreal on the road earlier in the year.