NHL Hockey Free Predictions: Canadiens vs Flyers – Game 5
Flyers lead series 3-1
Canadiens: +160 +1.5 (-225) Over 5 (-125)
Flyers: -180 -1.5 (+185) Under 5 (+105)
Canadiens vs. Flyers Game Five Preview
The Montreal Canadiens were unable to build on any momentum that they gained in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final with the Philadelphia Flyers and were soundly beaten in Game 4. The Habs have been in this position, behind 3-1 in a playoff series and now face three must-wins if they want to advance to this year’s Stanley Cup Final.
The Montreal Canadiens were largely beaten at their own game on Saturday afternoon. They were unable to generate anything offensively and were dominated by the Flyers speed and transition game.
Montreal fell victim to a stagnant offensive effort, deficiency in the faceoff circles and mistakes by their previously stout defensive corp. Montreal has shown an ability to bounce back and will need a heroic effort on Monday night to extend the series and bring it back to the Bell Center.
The Habs generated only 17 shots on goal in Game 4 and were outshot 13-1 in the second period. It was the second period that proved to be Montreal’s undoing as besides being outshot, they were outscored 2-0 in the frame.
The Canadiens will need Mike Cammalleri, who registered only one shot on goal, Brian Gionta who got only two shots on goal and Tomas Plekanec who has mustered zero goals and four assists in his last twelve games to step up and generate more offense, or the Flyers will make their first Finals appearance since 1997.
Montreal’s offense was not the only part of their game that struggled. The defense was uncharacteristically undisciplined and was guilty of far too many turnovers in their own zone.
PK Subban was particularly poor as his defensive zone gaffs were responsible for numerous Flyer chances.
Cracks are starting to form on the Montreal Blue Line and are proof that Andrei Markov’s season ending injury is a bigger factor than once thought.
The Philadelphia Flyers played the perfect road game on Saturday afternoon and they proved that a short memory is crucial in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Any momentum that the Flyers lost in Game 3 was quickly returned with a solid complete team effort in front of a hostile Bell Center crowd.
The Flyers dominated every aspect of Game 4 and seem poised to become the Eastern Conference representative in this year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Philadelphia welcomed back Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere to the lineup but did not need their scoring touch to win Game 4.
It was the secondary scoring of Claude Giroux and Ville Leino who provided the necessary offense to defeat the Habs. Mike Richards and Danny Briere were held off the score sheet yet the Flyers still won.
Coach Peter Laviolette said it best in his post Game 4 interview. “Blocked shots, faceoffs and hits. It’s the little things you do defensively that wins hockey games.” The Flyers blocked 27 shots, dominated the faceoffs and utilized a furious forecheck to dominate in Game 4. Michael Leighton looked good but he was definitely the beneficiary of Philadelphia’s air tight defense.
The Eastern Conference Final has been a series in which the team that can best make adjustments from game to game will prevail.
It is now up to the Canadiens’ coaching staff to make the necessary adjustments going into Game 5. Montreal is 5-0 when facing elimination in the playoffs so far.
They are not intimidated by their position and I think they make the necessary tweaks to extend the series.
NHL Betting Trends:
Montreal is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Montreal is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games when playing Philadelphia
Philadelphia is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Montreal’s last 6 games
Philadelphia is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
Philadelphia is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing Montreal
Game 5 Pick: Montreal Canadiens