The Canadiens and Ducks were division winners last season, but both have struggled to get going thus far in the 2017-18 campaign. Montreal makes its only visit to Anaheim on Friday night as a Sports Interaction betting underdog.
Montreal Canadiens at Anaheim Ducks
When: Friday, 10 p.m. ET Where: Honda Center, Anaheim Moneylines: TBA
NHL Odds and Betting Analysis
First of two meetings between the teams, with Montreal hosting Anaheim on Feb. 3. Last year, the clubs split. On Nov. 29 in Anaheim, the Ducks won 2-1 behind 39 saves from John Gibson. Rickard Rickell and Cam Fowler had the Ducks’ goals, while Andrew Shaw scored late in the third period for Montreal to make things interesting. Carey Price made 36 saves.
On Dec. 20 in Montreal, the Habs rolled to a 5-1 victory. Jeff Petry was the No. 1 star with a goal and two assists. Paul Byron had a goal and an assist, while Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty and Chris Terry also scored for Montreal. Montreal outshot the Anaheim 34-13 so it was an easy night for Price. Jonathan Bernier was in net for the Ducks (he’s now in Colorado).
The home team has won five straight in the series, and the under is 4-1 in the past five in Anaheim.
The Habs (1-5-1) have played a road-heavy schedule thus far (only two at home), and this concludes a three-game trip through California. They enter on a six-game losing streak after falling 5-2 in San Jose on Tuesday and then 5-1 at the L.A. Kings on Wednesday with backup Al Montoya in net vs. the Kings.
It’s quite simple why Montreal is last in the Atlantic Division and has an NHL-worst minus-16 goal differential as it is scoring just 1.4 goals per game (last in the NHL) and allowing 3.9 (27th). Presumably, Price will be back in net Friday, but the former Vezina and Hart winner has ugly numbers: 3.56 GAA and .885 save percentage.
The Ducks (2-3-1) have won the Pacific Division each of the past five seasons but haven’t been able to get to the Stanley Cup Finals since winning their only Cup in 2007. Getting off to a strong start this year was somewhat imperative with six of the team’s first seven at home, where it’s usually very tough to beat but already has three losses. Anaheim will be well-rested as it hasn’t played since a 3-1 home loss to struggling Buffalo on Sunday. The Ducks are averaging just 2.0 goals per game and have yet to convert on the power play.
Andrew Cogliano leads the team with six points (2G, 4A). Center Ryan Getzlaf, one of the Ducks’ best forwards, hasn’t played since Oct. 11 due to a lower-body injury and probably won’t Friday. Fellow center Ryan Kesler, one of the NHL’s best all-around players, had hip surgery in June and isn’t close to returning. So perhaps it isn’t surprising this team isn’t scoring.
Canadiens at Ducks Prediction
Anaheim 3, Montreal 2.