Calgary Flames @ Montreal Canadiens, 5 PM MT, Bell Centre, Montreal QC
TV: SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames (2-2-1, 5 pts) - Montreal Canadiens (4-0-2, 10 pts)
The Flames will take their two game losing streak on the road as Calgary heads to Montreal for a two game set with the Canadiens. The Flames haven’t been getting blown out during this losing streak, but they have been playing poorly early in games and that has seen them spend considerable time digging themselves out of a lot of holes. Take for example, Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs. The Flames were down 2-0 after 20 minutes and had only taken one shot in the first period. In their 3-2 loss on Sunday to Toronto? They were down 1-0 and had only nine shots on net. Whatever the reason for their recent slow starts, the Flames need to come out like their season depends on it because this Montreal team isn’t going to be an easy out.
The Canadiens are kind of the surprise of the North Division so far as they sit in second place in the division and they’ve won four out of their last five. The SB Nation Canadiens site, Habs Eyes On The Prize, mentioned that one key for Montreal was that they to need to score more this season to be successful and they certainly have. The 2021 Canadiens have pumped in 29 goals so far, good for second best in the league. Tyler Toffoli leads the team with five goals, but they are certainly spreading the point wealth around. Montreal has five players with six or more points and have PPGs in five of their six games on the young season. As a team Montreal is tops in the NHL, averaging 35.5 shots per game and only giving up a little over 27, so the Flames have their work cut out for them.
It’s hard to call any game this early in the season a make or break, but the Flames really need to get back on track. Falling behind early cannot become a trademark of this team because the top teams in this division will take full advantage of that lackluster style of play. Jacob Markstrom has been on of the few bright spots so far, but even he can’t hold this team up every night as was witnessed on Tuesday. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting, which is expected, and that trend will need to continue for the Flames to have success. Carey Price hasn’t been all worldly, giving up 13 goals on 122 shots. If the Flames big guns can get going early and do some damage there’s the potential that they could put Montreal on their heels early and take control of the pace of play. Will they do that in actuality? The Magic 8 Ball says “hard to say.” The Calgary teams that have taken to the ice lately haven’t been playing that style for sure.
Calgary is an even 5-5-0 in their last 10 trips to Montreal, but have dropped two straight when visiting the Canadiens. A regulation loss on Tuesday night would put them seven points behind Montreal and with Toronto playing Edmonton Tuesday night, things could look MUCH worse come Friday morning. So, ball’s in your court Calgary. Time to right the ship and right it fast.
Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)
Flames: Markstrom (E): 2-2-1, 2.63 GAA, .911 SV%
Canadiens: Price (E): 2-0-2, 3.15 GAA, .893 SV%
Flames: Goals- Lindholm (3), Points- Monahan (6), PIM- Lucic (6), Save%- Markstrom (.911)
Canadiens: Goals- Toffoli (5), Points- Toffoli (8), PIM: Chiarot (11). Save%- Allen (.906)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Montreal Canadiens Coverage: Habs Eyes On The Prize
The Montreal Canadiens players who could be protected or exposed in the Seattle expansion draft https://t.co/vu7I4fLDb5— Eyes on the Prize (@HabsEOTP) January 27, 2021
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 3 - Toronto Maple Leafs 4
Montreal Canadiens 5 - Vancouver Canucks 2
Players To Watch
Johnny Gaudreau (F): 5 points in last 3 games
Nick Suzuki (C): 5 points in last 5 games