Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#15 Winnipeg Jets vs.
#16 Montreal Canadiens
Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Bell Centre, Montreal
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of teams from north of the border take the ice in the province of Quebec for a North Division matchup. The Winnipeg Jets are on the road as they make the trip to face the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night. Winnipeg had two games with Vancouver slated for Sunday and Tuesday postponed: they did beat Ottawa 4-3 at home Monday in a game to fill that gap their last time out. Montreal was on the road as they faced Toronto Wednesday night: they rallied to down the Oilers 3-2 in overtime Monday night at home in their last contest. The Jets have taken four of the six meetings this season with three of those wins coming in overtime. That includes a 4-3 overtime home win in the most recent matchup on March 17.

Winnipeg Jets Look to Gain Ground in North Division Race

Winnipeg had dropped three of four but went on the road and dropped the Senators in their previous contest. The Jets entered Wednesday second in the North Division standings, six points behind the Maple Leafs for the top spot. They stood 14 points ahead of fifth-place Calgary and Vancouver to remain in the playoff picture. Winnipeg enters this one 11th in the league in goals for as they average 3.21 goals a night. The Jets are 13th in goals against as they allow 2.69 goals per contest. Winnipeg is 3rd on the power play by cashing in on 25.9% of the chances with the man advantage this season. The Jets are tied for 13th in the league in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 80% of their shorthanded situations.

In Monday’s game against Ottawa, the Jets were strong in the opening 40 minutes but got lax in the third period before hanging on for the victory. The opening period saw Winnipeg with a 14-8 advantage in shots on goal and a 1-0 edge on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play. Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his eighth of the year at 2:10 of the period off assists from Blake Wheeler and Logan Stanley to open the scoring. In the second period, Winnipeg held a commanding 22-6 shot advantage and a 3-1 edge on the scoreboard to go up 4-1 after two periods of play. Adam Lowry made it a 2-0 game with his eighth of the year at 4:19 off an assist from Andrew Copp. After giving up a goal to cut their lead in half, Dubois scored his second of the game and ninth of the year at 8:38 off assists from Nikolaj Ehlers and Copp to make it a 3-1 game. Kyle Connor extended to a 4-1 advantage with his 18th of the season at 16:12 off assists from Ehlers and Mark Scheifele. In the third period, Winnipeg held a 10-9 edge in shots but they were outscored 2-0 to see their lead trimmed to a goal. The Jets hung on from there for the victory. Connor Hellebuyck made 20 saves for Winnipeg, who owned a 46-23 advantage in shots on goal, in the win. He’s expected to get the call in goal for this contest.

Montreal Canadiens Play Second Game of Back-to-Back

Montreal was in action on the road against Toronto Wednesday night minus a couple of key players. Brendan Gallagher suffered a fractured thumb Monday night against Edmonton and is expected to miss six weeks while goaltender Carey Price was out with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens entered Wednesday fourth in the North Division, 12 points behind Toronto for the division lead. They stood eight points ahead of fifth-place Calgary and Vancouver for the final playoff spot in the division. Montreal is 9th in the league in offensive production with 3.23 goals per game on the season. The Canadiens are tied for 11th in goals against as they allow an average of 2.66 goals per contest. Montreal is tied for 14th in power play success by cashing in 21.4% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Canadiens are 25th in penalty killing by successfully getting through 76.1% of their shorthanded situations this season.

On Monday night, the Canadiens needed a third-period rally to force overtime and then managed to pull out the victory to get two points against the Oilers. Montreal owned a 15-5 edge in shots in the opening period but they trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw the Canadiens outshot by a 14-7 margin and they gave up the lone goal of the stanza to trail 2-0 after 40 minutes of action. In the final period, Montreal held a 7-3 shot edge and outscored the Oilers 2-0 to tie the game and force overtime. Josh Anderson got the Canadiens on the board with his 14th of the year at 1:45 off assists from Corey Perry and Nick Suzuki. Tomas Tatar got the equalizer at 5:23 with his eighth of the year off an assist from Paul Byron. In overtime, the Canadiens held a 3-1 shot advantage and scored the winning goal to earn the two points. Eric Staal scored his fourth of the year at 4:02 of the extra session off assists from Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Petry to win it. Carey Price made 21 saves for the Canadiens, who held a 32-23 edge in shots on goal, in the win. Cayden Primeau, who was recalled from the minors Wednesday, is projected to get the call here.

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Montreal is playing the second game of a back-to-back situation and their third game in four nights here, which is going to take a toll. Factor in that the Canadiens are banged up, missing their starting goaltender and one of their top forwards, and things get a little more daunting for Montreal. Winnipeg has had two days off before this game though they could be minus Blake Wheeler, who reportedly sustained a concussion. The Jets are a solid team and they have had success against the Canadiens this season. Hellebuyck is the better and more proven commodity in goal at this point. Give the edge to the Jets in this contest.

Prediction: Winnipeg Jets +118

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Winnipeg has seen the over put up an 20-16-3 mark in their contests this season. The Jets have seen an average of 5. 90 goals per game on the season. Winnipeg has seen the total stay flat at 5.90 goals per game when they are the road team this season. Montreal has seen the under post a slim 18-15-2 advantage in their 35 games on the season. The Canadiens have posted an average total of 5.89 goals per game, though that number climbs slightly to an even six goals a night as the road team. In the six meetings between the teams, we’ve seen them combine for nine, three, seven, eight, six and seven goals. Five of those meetings have gone over the total: look for this to follow suit and wind up over the mark.

Prediction: Over 5.5

Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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