The Montreal Canadiens are still in contention to win the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division but the Detroit Red Wings will be keen to halt them in their tracks. The Red Wings don’t have the best of records north of the border in this fixture but if anyone is going to step up to the plate, it is Detroit. This could be a very tricky evening for Montreal if the hosts take their opponents lightly.
Can you see the Canadiens or Red Wings finishing above the Toronto Maple Leafs or Tampa Bay Lightning this year? Probably not and 50/1 from Betway says they won’t. But third place in the Atlantic Division would not go down with fans as a bad season – it is arguably the toughest division in the National Hockey League and plenty of punters will be backing the Canadiens to snag one of the wildcard spots for the postseason. It won’t be easy but Montreal are perhaps best equipped to do just that.
Montreal need to continue doing what they are doing and this should come naturally to the hosts. Brendan Gallagher and co have been on fire in 2017/18 and plenty of punters will be tipping the Canadiens as dark horses for yet another Stanley Cup triumph. They are in decent form and another win here will cement their spot as one of the dominant franchises in the Eastern Conference.
KEY MAN: Brendan Gallagher. Gallagher has come into his own this year, currently ranking as Montreal’s top points scorer with 18 in 27 appearances. 12 goals is a reasonable return – his season high figure is 24 goals in 82 regular season outings back in the 2014/15 season. At this rate, he could even finish as one of the top goal scorers in the National Hockey League and it would be foolish to dismiss his chances of making a positive impression this weekend.
Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have lost six National Hockey League games in a row and it would take a brave man to back against the Montreal Canadiens here. Detroit are in disarray and there is unrest building throughout the organisation. In time, they may turn things around but this is a franchise that wants instant success – supporters are not willing to wait any longer. A heavy defeat here could see changes afoot, even if it is still early in the campaign.
KEY MAN: Anthony Mantha. With 22 points in 26 appearances, Mantha will be expected to shine for Detroit here. It won’t be easy but if Mantha performs at his brilliant best, a shock away win is NOT out of the question. Detroit will be relying on individual playmakers to star and Mantha is key to the Red Wings, both in context of this match and the Stanley Cup. Keep a close eye on him this weekend – he could be very influential.
As previously mentioned, this is a potential banana skin for Montreal but the hosts should be strong enough to win this one in convincing fashion. The Red Wings are struggling to build any sort of positive momentum and a trip to Bell Centre is unlikely to change their fortunes. Detroit aren’t out of the race just yet but they are starting to fall behind and it may prove prudent to consider a change in approach if their woeful run of form continues for too much longer.
CANADIENS 4-1 RED WINGS