The Montreal Canadiens (8-27-7, 23 pts), continue their eight-game homestand against the Edmonton Oilers (21-16-2, 44 pts), at the Bell Centre in the third game of the Hockey Night In Canada five-game slate for Hockey Day In Canada.
Here’s your MHN Game Preview brought to you by The Real Deal On Peel, McLean’s Pub (1210 Peel St. Montreal):
The Montreal Canadiens have now lost four straight after a 5-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Thursday in the first game of the current homestand. The Habs will play one more game, Sunday at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets before getting an eight-day break. The Habs will look to close out the month of January on a positive as tonight’s game against the Oilers and tomorrow against the Blue Jackets will close out what has been a brutal start to 2022 for the Montreal Canadiens. Heading into Saturday’s game, the Habs are 1-5-3 this month. They currently sit dead last in the NHL standings and 30 points out of a playoff spot.
The Oilers meanwhile come in winners of three-straight games and seemingly past what seemed like rock bottom just over a week ago. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and their Oilers teammates will also welcome newly signed Evander Kane to their lineup Saturday. After the NHL said its investigation into whether or not the embattled forward had breached COVID-19 protocol produced “insufficient evidence” to determine a violation knowingly occurred, Edmonton signed Kane to a one-year contract Thursday. Per Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman, the contract is worth $750,000 in salary and $625,000 in signing bonus, which means a cap hit of about $2.1 million. Friedman added that the contract has a full no-movement clause.
Per our friends at BetUS, the Oilers are 5-0 in their last 5 games as a road money line favorite of -201 or greater, and tonight they come in as -240 favorites on the money line. They’re also +110 on the puck line (-1.5). Edmonton also comes in at 6-1 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400. The Montreal Canadiens are 5-11-1 at the Bell Centre.
The Over is 5-0-1 in Oilers last 6 games as a favorite of -201 or greater. The Over is 5-1 in Canadiens last 6 games as an underdog and the last six games overall for the Habs.
Based on those stats, here are our betting picks for the game: Oilers -.5 first period (+105), Oilers -1.5 (+110), and Over 6.5 (-110)
Prediction: Oilers 6 Canadiens 3
Montreal Canadiens Notes
-After stopping 13 of 15 shots in two periods of relief of Cayden Primeau Thursday against the Ducks, Montreal Canadiens goalie Sam Montembeault will get his first start since Jan. 20 when he stopped 49 of 53 shots but injured his hand in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Montembeault didn’t dress for the Habs’ next two games before returning to back up Primeau on Thursday. Montembeault is 2-7-4 with a 3.71 GAA and .903 save percentage.
-The Montreal Canadiens held a 40-24 edge in shots on Thursday, out-shooting their opponent for the first time since Jan. 17.
Montreal Canadiens Injury Report
-Forwards Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher practiced in full-contact jerseys for the first time Saturday, and while they won’t play tonight, they’re expected to dress for tomorrow night’s tilt with the Blue Jackets.
-Montreal Canadiens forwards Joel Armia and Cole Caufield were expected to return to Montreal Friday after clearing COVID Protocol and being allowed to travel back into Canada. Unfortunately, after a ten-hour delay at the airport in Madison, Wisconsin, their flight was canceled. The plan was for the duo to fly back Saturday but either way, they likely won’t play until after the eight-day break.
-Goalie Carey Price skated for ten minutes before his teammates took their game-day skate on Saturday morning. Price continues to rehab his knee and is working out but there is no timetable for a return.
-Defenceman Joel Edmundson (Back) remains out indefinitely.
-Forward Jonathan Drouin remains out indefinitely with a right wrist injury.
-Forward Christian Dvorak does not have a concussion but he is suffering from an upper-body injury that has led the Montreal Canadiens to place him on injured reserve. Dvorak isn’t expected back until at least after the upcoming all-star break on Feb. 4-7.
-Forward Mathieu Perreault will be out three to four weeks more with a lower-body injury.
Edmonton Oilers Notes
-The Edmonton Oilers will start Stuart Skinner between the pipes Saturday. Skinner is 4-6-0 with a 2.93 GAA and .907 save percentage.
-Leon Draisaitl (3G, 5A) and captain Connor McDavid (2G, 3A) each have five points since the start of the current win streak.
Edmonton Oilers Injury Report
-Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie (upper-body) is on injured reserve and expected to be out until at least Monday.
-Oilers defenseman Oskar Klefbom (shoulder) is on injured reserve and expected to be out until at least March 1.
-Oilers forward Josh Archibald (chest) is on injured reserve and expected to be out until at least Feb. 2.
-Oilers goalie Mike Smith (thumb) is on injured reserve and expected to be out until at least Feb. 11
Montreal Canadiens Lines:
Note: Ducharme told the media Saturday morning that there’s a strong chance he could dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards so this could change.
Artturi Lehkonen-Nick Suzuki-Tyler Toffoli
Laurent Dauphin-Ryan Poehling–Mike Hoffman
Rem Pitlick-Jake Evans-Josh Anderson
Michael Pezzetta-Lukas Vejdemo-Cedric Paquette
Ben Chiarot-David Savard
Brett Kulak-Jeff Petry
Alexander Romanov-Chris Wideman
Edmonton Oilers Lines
Evander Kane–Connor McDavid–Kailer Yamamoto
Warren Foegele–Leon Draisaitl–Jesse Puljujarvi
Zach Hyman–Ryan Nugent-Hopkins– Zack Kassian
Devin Shore–Ryan McLeod-Derek Ryan
Darnell Nurse–Evan Bouchard
Duncan Keith-Cody Ceci
Kris Russell–Willian Lagesson