Defense Will be a Priority With Preds and Habs
Two highly defensive squads take the ice tonight in a battle of East vs. West. With Pekka Rinne between the pipes, Nashville Predators (33-21-5) has allowed the fourth-fewest goals in the league (2.59). They will take on the Montreal Canadiens, who’ve won three of their last four games (31-18-7) thanks to the stellar play of goaltender Carey Price.
The last time Montreal faced Nashville was January 5 at the Bell Centre, and the Habs were gouged 4-1. Following Price’s resurgence as an elite ‘tender” in the league, Montreal has elevated their defensive play. Now they sit just four points back of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. The Predators find themselves mired in a three-game mini skid as they enter Thursday’s contest. They dropped two games to the St. Louis Blues and lost 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night. Those are hardly elite squads in the NHL. It’ll be interesting to see how the Preds bounce back against a surging Canadiens’ club. Regardless of the outcome, it’ll be one that Habs fans will be extra keen to watch. Former Montreal hero, PK Subban, will suit up against his old squad
This, That, and a Dart Throw
Montreal has been idle since a 4-3 overtime loss to Toronto on Saturday. They made separate trades with Philadelphia and Los Angeles to bring in forwards Dale Weise, Nate Thompson, and defenseman Christian Folin. Weise spent parts of three seasons (2014-16) with the Canadiens, and Thompson have joined Nicolas Deslauriers on the fourth line. G Carey Price is 7-0-1 in his last eight starts overall and 4-4-2 with a 2.06 goals-against average versus Nashville.
Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson missed nearly the entire months of November and December. He has been on a goal-scoring binge over the past four weeks by scoring 11 times over the last 12 games. He has boosted his team-leading total to 25. Arvidsson, who amassed 60 goals over the previous two campaigns, joined linemate Filip Forsberg and Jason Arnott as the only players in franchise history to reach 25 in three consecutive seasons. Top-line center Ryan Johansen has collected a pair of assists in back-to-back contests. That gives him eight points during a five-game streak.
PREDICTION: Predators 3, Canadiens 2
NHL Betting Odds & Trends
|Montreal is 15-7 ATS in its last 22 games|
|Montreal is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Montreal’s last 17 games|
|Montreal is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games on the road|
|Montreal is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Montreal’s last 5 games on the road|
|Montreal is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Nashville|
|Montreal is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games when playing Nashville|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Montreal’s last 5 games when playing Nashville|
|Nashville is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games|
|Nashville is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Nashville’s last 9 games|
|Nashville is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games at home|
|Nashville is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games at home|
|Nashville is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Montreal|
|Nashville is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing Montreal|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Nashville’s last 5 games when playing Montreal|
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