The Montreal Canadiens look to avoid falling back under .500 as they welcome the Calgary Flames tonight in their only visit of the season to the Bell Centre.
This is the first of two meetings between the teams, with the Flames hosting the Canadiens on December 22.
Last year, the teams split with each game a blowout. It was 5-1 Canadiens at home in the first meeting. Carey Price made 30 saves and was one second from a shutout – Sam Bennett ruined that on a power play. Alexander Radulov had two goals for Montreal, both with the man advantage. Chad Johnson, now with Buffalo, was in net for the Flames. Calgary outshot Montreal 31-20.
At the Saddledome, the Flames won 5-0. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and three assists, and Brian Elliott (now with Flyers) had the first of his two shutouts all season. Calgary was playing its best hockey of the season then, winning an eighth straight game. Price was out with the flu and Al Montoya was in net for Montreal.
Price is 4-5-0 in his career against the Flames with a 2.76 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Gaudreau has two goals and seven assists with a plus-seven rating in six games vs. Montreal.
The home team has won 15 of the past 21 in this series overall. The over is 3-1-1 in the past five.
Calgary (14-12-2) lost a third in a row Wednesday at Toronto, 2-1 in a shootout – the first Flames game to go to a shootout since early November and their first loss in three of them all season. William Nylander scored the winner in the fourth round of the shootout past Mike Smith. Mark Giordano had the lone goal for the Flames, who outshot Toronto 48-29. Because Smith was in net Wednesday, it likely will be backup David Rittich in this one. He is 1-1 with a 3.04 GAA and .875 save percentage. Although if Smith feels good enough 24 hours later, he could be in net. Will Jaromir Jagr play in Montreal? He sat in Toronto with a lower-body injury.
The Canadiens (13-13-3) saw their five-game winning streak end and lost for the first time since Price returned from injury, 4-3 at home to a good St. Louis team on Tuesday night. Price had allowed just six combined goals during the win streak. He stopped 26 shots vs. the Blues and is now 8-8-1 with a 3.00 GAA and .903 save percentage. Brayden Schenn had a hat trick for St. Louis, which ended a three-game skid. The Blues broke a 1-1 tie with two goals in less than seven seconds in the second period. It was the 10th time this season Canadiens had allowed two goals within a minute. Defenceman Shea Weber had two goals for Montreal and reached 500 points career. Weber tied the game with his second tally at 6:34 of the third, but Schenn’s third at 12:11 won it. Winger Jonathan Drouin missed third game in a row with an illness/lower-body injury.
Flames vs Canadiens Prediction