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Canadiens vs Canucks December 17 Preview & Pick: Habs Eye Eighth Straight Win Over Vancouver

Jeff Petry warming up with the Montreal Canadiens
Montreal's defense, led by the likes of Jeff Petry, has struggled at times this season. Photo by Lisa Gansky (Wiki Commons).
  • Vancouver hasn’t beaten Montreal in over four years
  • The Canadiens have won seven straight in the series and 11 of the teams’ last 13 head-to-head games
  • Montreal had a three-game win streak snapped by Detroit, while Vancouver has lost three of its previous four

In their first meeting of the season, non-conference foes the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks lock horns at Rogers Arena on Tuesday night, with the Habs looking to continue their recent dominance in the series.

The Canadiens have won seven straight against their West Coast opponent, and 11 of the last 13 meetings between the teams. And Montreal seems to enjoy playing on the road this season, going 7-4-3 away from home compared to its 8-8-3 record at the Bell Centre. Meanwhile, the Canucks have put up an 8-4-3 mark at home this season, which maybe underpins their position as the favorite in the Montreal vs Vancouver odds.

Montreal Canadiens vs Vancouver Canucks Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Montreal Canadiens +1.5 (-235) +110 O 6.0 (-115)
Vancouver Canucks -1.5 (+195) -130 U 6.0 (-105)

Odds taken Dec. 17.

Offensively Challenged

While both teams have decent offensive numbers, with Vancouver and Montreal having the 11th and 12th best goals-per-game averages at 3.15 and 3.12 respectively on the season, neither has done as well of late. Although they are led by Brendan Gallagher’s 14 goals, the Habs have averaged just 2.75 GPG in their last four, even though they managed to win three of those before being embarrassed with a 2-1 defeat at home on Saturday by the league-worst Red Wings.

However, they are averaging an NHL-best 35 shots per game, so their goal-scoring ineptitude is not for a lack of trying.

And despite boasting offensive talents along the lines of reigning Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson, who also has 14 goals, the Canucks have struggled to find the net in their recent tailspin. They have managed to score just 1.75 goals per game in their last four, going 1-3 in that span.

Own Zone Woes

Despite having one of the best goaltenders in the world manning the crease in the shape of Carey Price, and a strong season being put forth by Shea Weber in front of him, Montreal is still giving up 3.21 goals per game, tied for sixth-worst in the league alongside the Florida Panthers.

Vancouver is better in its own end, at 3.06 goals conceded per game on the season, but has struggled of late, giving up 3.80 GPG in its last five contests, including six in its last outing, a 6-3 loss to the Golden Knights.

Special Teams Contest

Where this game may be won or lost may come down to the special teams. Vancouver has shown itself to have one of the best power plays in the NHL so far this season, with the team cashing in on 25.3% of the opportunities handed to it with the man advantage, good for fourth overall in the league.

On the other side of the ice, however, Montreal’s penalty kill has been largely woeful, with its 76% kill rate bringing it in at fifth overall.

On the flip side, Montreal’s power play is converting at a 20% clip, while Vancouver’s penalty kill has a 81.5% success rate.

Pick: Montreal (+110)

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