The Montreal Canadiens (20-24-3) and their stifling penalty killing defense play host to the Boston Bruins (37-5-4), one of the league’s weakest power play offenses, at Bell Centre on Tuesday. Boston is embarking on a five-game road trip coming off a 4-0 win over the Sharks on Sunday, their fifth win in a row.
The Bruins committed four penalties in the game, though they held San Jose without a power play goal. Four players found the net for the Bruins. Linus Ullmark earned his second shutout of the season with an impressive 17 saves.
Montreal beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 (OT) on Saturday. Rem Pitlick, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, and Josh Anderson each scored once for the Canadiens. Pitlick added an assist to lead the team in scoring. Sam Montembeault was impressive in the win, making 36 saves (.947%).
HEAD TO HEAD
The Bruins won all four games between the teams last season, including a 5-3 victory in their final meeting in April, their seventh straight win against Montreal.
Patrice Bergeron led Boston with three points (2G 1A). Jeff Petry led Montreal with two points (0G 2A). Jeremy Swayman got the win despite allowing three goals on 26 shots (.884%).
Boston is averaging 3.80 goals per game for the season, best in the NHL. The visitors will hope to improve on that figure against a Canadiens team that is allowing 3.64 goals a game (28th).
Meanwhile, Montreal has found the net 2.57 times a game on average, 28th in the league, and won’t find goals any easier to come by against the Bruins’ stout defense, which is holding opponents to a league-best 2.02 goals per game.
Boston averages more shots (33.5) than most teams in the league, ranking fifth, while the team’s 11.5% shooting percentage is third. Montreal’s average of 28.0 attempts ranks 30th.
Power play opportunities should be plentiful for the Bruins, as the Canadiens have been penalized 4.66 times a game, second-most in the NHL, for an average of 13.00 minutes (first-highest).
The visitors are averaging 4.35 penalties (ninth) and 10.57 penalty minutes a game (9th). The Bruins’ 27.04% power play percentage is the third-best in the league, while the Canadiens rank 32nd with a conversion rate of only 14.97%. Boston has been equally strong at penalty killing, boasting the league’s highest PK% at 87.12%. Montreal ranks 26th at 74.25%.
With 65 points this season, fifth-most in the NHL, David Pastrnak is the top skater for the Bruins. He is among the league leaders with 36 goals (2nd) and has added 29 assists. In the net, Ullmark (24-2-1) is Boston’s top goaltender by goals against average. He has a 1.89 GAA, best in the league, and a .937% save percentage, also best.
Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield lead the Canadiens in scoring with 38 and 36 points, respectively. Suzuki has 16 goals and 22 assists in 47 games, while Caufield has 26 goals (9th) and 10 assists () in 46 games.
Montembeault (10-8-2) has the best goals against average for Montreal at 3.14. He has a save percentage of .911%. Jake Allen (10-16-1) has played the most games in net for the Canadiens this season. He has a 3.52 GAA and a .892% save percentage.
HOME AND AWAY
Boston has won six in a row away from home this season. Montreal is 11-12-0 at home this season.
SportsTips’ NHL Pick:
Boston Bruins -2.5 (+110)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.