Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#1437 Montreal Canadiens vs.
#1438 Calgary Flames
Friday, April 23, 2021 at 9:00pm EDT
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
Written by Chris Kubala

A pair of Canadian teams fighting for a spot in the playoff picture take the ice in Alberta. The Montreal Canadiens are on the road as they travel to face the Calgary Flames in a North Division clash Friday night in the opening game of a three-game set. Montreal edged Edmonton 4-3 on the road Wednesday night in their most recent contest to end up with a split of the two-game set. Calgary was dumped 4-2 at home by Ottawa in their previous contest Monday night. In the season series, the Flames have taken four of the previous six meetings, though Montreal claimed a 2-1 home victory in the latest meeting on April 16. Will the Flames find a way to pick up a win and gain ground on home ice?

Montreal Canadiens Looking for Critical Victory

Montreal found a way to come up with the road win over Edmonton in their previous contest and look to maintain that momentum here. The Canadiens entered Thursday fourth in the North Division, 12 points behind Toronto for the division lead. They stood eight points ahead of fifth-place Calgary for the final playoff spot in the division. Montreal is 13th in the league in offensive production with 2.93 goals per game on the season. The Canadiens are 14th in goals against as they allow an average of 2.80 goals per contest. Montreal is 21st in power play success by cashing in 19% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Canadiens are 22nd in penalty killing by successfully getting through 77.8% of their shorthanded situations this season.

In Wednesday’s game against Edmonton, the Canadiens did just enough offensively to come up with the road victory and earn a split of the two-game set. The opening period saw the Canadiens hold a 13-4 edge in shots on goal and they took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes of action. Artturi Lehkonen scored his fourth of the year at 19:31 off assists from Jeff Petry and Jesperi Kotkaniemi to open the scoring. In the second period, Montreal saw the shots even at nine and the goals even at one, leaving them with a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Just 11 seconds after giving up the equalizer, Josh Anderson gave the Canadiens the lead with his 16th of the year at 3:20 off assists from Petry and Tomas Tatar. In the third period, Montreal was outshot 12-9 with both teams scoring twice, allowing them to hang on to their one-goal margin as time expired. Tyler Toffoli scored his 22nd of the season, unassisted, on the power play at 8:10 to make it a 3-1 game. Anderson added his second of the night and 17th of the season at 15:03 off assists from Tatar and Alexander Romanov to extend to a 4-1 advantage. Montreal gave up a pair of goals 1:01 apart in the final three minutes but managed to hang on for the victory. Jake Allen made 22 saves for the Canadiens, who held a 31-25 edge in shots, in the victory. He is expected to get the start in goal again here.

Calgary Flames Hoping to Bounce Back

Calgary struggled at home against Ottawa and fell for the sixth time in eight meetings with the Senators, which is a major reason why they are on the outside of the playoff picture. The Flames entered Sunday fifth in the North Division, 20 points behind the Maple Leafs for the top spot and eight back of Montreal for the final guaranteed playoff spot. Calgary is tied for 23rd in the league in goals for as they put up an average of 2.60 goals per contest. The Flames are 17th in the league in goals against by allowing 2.93 goals a night this season. Calgary is 19th in the league in power-play success as they convert 19.4% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Flames are 11th in the league in penalty killing as they successfully navigate through 80.7% of their shorthanded situations.

In the game against Ottawa, Calgary struggled to get things going and that proved to be their undoing as the Senators once again had their number. The Flames saw the shots even at 11 after the opening period and both teams scored once to leave the game even after 20 minutes of play. After falling behind 1-0, Elias Lindholm evened the game for Calgary with his 13th of the year at 11:23 off assists from Mark Giordano and Johnny Gaudreau. In the second period, the Flames held a 9-5 edge in shots on goal but they were outscored 1-0 to trail 2-1 after two periods of play. The final period saw Calgary with an 8-4 shot advantage but they were outscored 2-1 to end up with the loss. After giving up a goal to trail 3-1, Milan Lucic scored his eighth of the year at 10:47 off assists from Mikael Backlund and Michael Stone to get the Flames back within a goal. That was as close as Calgary would get as Ottawa hit the empty net to salt things away. Jacob Markstrom made 16 saves for the Flames, who held a 28-20 edge in shots on goal, in the loss. Markstrom is expected to get the start in goal again here.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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For all their struggles against Ottawa, Calgary has fared well against Montreal this season, winning four of six heading into this three-game series that will make or break their fading playoff hopes. The Flames are in a situation where they need to come up with some victories in order to gain ground in the chase for the final playoff spot. Montreal has been up and down this season and they received news that Carey Price is going to be out at least another week as he is in the concussion protocol. The Flames are in dire straits and they need a victory here. Playing at home, give Calgary the edge as they start this series on a positive note.

Prediction: Calgary Flames -110

Full-Game Total Pick

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Montreal has seen the under post a 24-17-3 advantage in their 44 games on the season. The Canadiens have posted an average total of 5.73 goals per game, though that number climbs slightly to 5.77 goals a night as the road team. Calgary went into Thursday night having seen the under go 23-16-6 in their contests on the year. The Flames have seen an average of 5.53 goals per game on the board in their contests this season. That number climbs to 6.10 goals per game as the home team on the year. In the six meetings between the teams, we’ve seen them combine for two, six, two, three, four and three goals. The under is 5-0-1 in the six meetings this season and there’s little reason to think things will shift here. Look for the under to come in again.

Prediction: Under 5.5
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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