Mon, Mar 22, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Montreal Canadiens (14-8-9, 6-5-2 home) host the Edmonton Oilers (21-13-0, 9-5-0 away) on Monday, March 22, at 7 PM ET at the Centre Bell.
Montreal enters tonight’s game sitting in fourth place in the North Division with 37 points, just five points behind second-place Edmonton (42 points).
With a win in regulation, the Canadiens can pull to within three points of the Oilers. If Edmonton pulls out a win, the Oilers would move to seven points ahead of the Canadiens.
Since teams are only playing within their divisions this year, every game has a major impact on the playoff picture.
Edmonton comes into tonight on a three-game win streak. In their last outing, the Oilers took down the Winnipeg Jets 4-2.
Leon Draisaitl scored the winning goal early in the third period for the Oilers.
“I think that we’re resilient. We figured out different ways to stick around and win hockey games. It’s obviously a big part of making the playoffs. I think we’ve done a great job of that this year. Obviously, we have to keep that going,” Draisaitl said.
Goalie Mike Smith stopped 29 shots for the Oilers.
“I’ve said it all along, (Smith) is one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached. You see it on display there tonight. I just mentioned it. He makes timely saves. I’ve seen him play like this for a long time. He’s in a groove. He’s playing very well and he’s a big part of our team,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said.
Montreal is also coming off a win, 5-4 in a shootout, over the Vancouver Canucks.
Tomas Tatar recorded the winning goal in the shootout for Montreal.
“We were very happy with the win. It was a big roller-coaster of a game,” Tatar said. “We stayed with it and it’s a big two points, for sure.”
Goaltender Carey Price turned away 14 shots in the victory.
“It’s definitely nice to get the proverbial monkey off our back,” Price. “I guess now we can just move on. We’ve got another one, we’ll try and win that one.”
The win in the shootout was much-needed for the Canadiens, who have gone 4-2-4 in their last 10 games played. It came one night after losing 3-2 in overtime to the Canucks. Montreal finished the season series with Vancouver 6-0-3, by far the best season series they have had this year.
The injury report for tonight’s North Division contest includes the following:
Ben Chiarot (MTL): out (hand)
Tyler Toffoli (MTL): day-to-day (lower body)
Alex Stalock (EDM): out (health protocols)
Kyle Turris (EDM): day-to-day (covid protocol)
Kailer Yamamoto (EDM): day-to-day (upper body)
The Canadiens are favored with the spread at -1.5 and the money line at -120. The over-under is set at six total goals. Placing a wager on NHL action tonight? Your money is best spent on the Under 6. Montreal leads the series 2-1 with 5-1 and 3-1 wins. Edmonton picked up a 3-0 win the last time these teams met on February 11.