The Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes are battling hard for the Eastern Conference Wild Card spots heading into the final stretch. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the two points that will be on the line when those teams meet to wrap up the weekend.
Both teams played Saturday night, setting the table for a tough turnaround heading into one of the most important games of the season. Montreal is coming off a 7-4 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres while the Hurricanes also earned a big win, crushing Minnesota 5-1. Let’s take a closer look at Sunday’s contest.
Canadiens vs Hurricanes Betting Analysis
The Canadiens have posted an 18-16-3 record on the road so far this season. After Saturday night, Montreal is now a 6-2 in its last eight games against Eastern Conference opponents. However, the Habs are 0-4 in their last four games when listed as a slight underdog between +110 and +150 odds.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes enter Sunday with 21-12-2 record on home ice so far this season. Carolina is 9-0 in its last nine games when playing on zero days’ rest, so back-to-backs are not a problem for them. The Hurricanes are also 6-1 in their last seven games as a home favorite between -110 and -150 odds.
The biggest factor for Montreal will be how quickly they can get their feet under them and how much they will have left in the tank after hosting Buffalo the night before. The Canadiens had to travel to Carolina, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they went through some rough patches in this contest when they seem to be lacking energy. It’s also worth noting that Carey Price will be back between the pipes after starting against the Sabres. Montreal has pretty much committed to starting Price every single game the rest of the way in order to try to make the postseason. He’s played well in March, posting a 2.36 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
The Canadiens will also be looking for strong performances from a number of forwards that have struggled recently. Jonathan Drouin has just two points in 11 games while rookie Jesperi Kotaniemi had just one point over that same span. In order to make the postseason, Montreal needs those key pieces to step up and provide some offense.
The Hurricanes have had no problem banking on their top players to produce down the stretch. Sebastian Aho has led the way with 30 goals and 80 points this season. Teuvo Teravainen has chipped in with 19 goals and 70 points. Carolina is on a roll as they’ve now won five of their last seven. Very quietly, they’ve been one of the better teams in the NHL in the second half of the season as they are 18-6-1 over their last 25 games.
There is a good chance Curtis McElhinney will be back between the pipes for the Hurricanes after Petr Mrazek started against Minnesota. McElhinney has posted a 3.50-goals against average and a .885 save percentage over the last month of action, so he will need to be better. The Canes have dropped three of his last four starts, getting outscored 20-11. If he’s in fact between the pipes as expected, either take a flier with the Habs or bet the over.