The Montreal Canadiens shocked the Philadelphia Flyers with a 5-0 victory to even this best-of-seven series at one heading into Sunday's showdown in Toronto.
Philadelphia's typically high-octane offense got completely held in check by the Habs, who were dominant after dropping the series opener 2-1. Can Montreal's underdog storyline continue, or will the Flyers soar again?
In abe Insights' preview, we'll break down some notable stats, the best odds and main lines across the biggest sportsbooks and provide other relevant, vital information for this matchup.
Date: Sunday, August 16
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Flyers 57%; Canadiens 45%
Spread: PHI -1.5 (+210); MTL +1.5 (-225)
Moneyline: PHI -134; MTL +120
Flyers forward Travis Konecny blocked a shot in the third period of Friday's blowout loss, and had to leave the ice for good. No status update has been provided for Konecny as of this writing, so Philly's regular-season points leader is questionable for Game 3.
A source of momentum for the Canadiens stems from how they rallied around adversity prior to the last contest's puck drop. Head coach Claude Julien was experiencing chest pains and received a coronary artery stent. Now Julien is out of the bubble, and so far under interim coach Kirk Muller, the Habs are responding in a big way.
87 vs. 63: The gap between the Flyers and Canadiens totals for third-period goals in 2019-20 is significant. The Orange and Black have the big advantage here, but haven't scored in the final 20 minutes of either prior playoff contest versus Montreal.
15.8 vs. 5.3: One discouraging trend has been the Flyers' poor power play. That latter figure is their success rate with the man advantage in the postseason, and the first is that of the Habs. Montreal scored two power play goals on Friday.
72 vs. 68: Ranking second and fifth respectively in penalty minutes during the playoffs, the Flyers and Canadiens both have room to improve their discipline. Whichever club avoids the sin bin more stands to enhance their odds of winning Game 3.
On the strength of a 30-save shutout in Game 2, Montreal goalie Carey Price improved to 4-2 this postseason with a ridiculous 1.46 GAA. Price is a reminder that elite play between the pipes can drive playoff success no matter what the rest of the club does.
As long as Price is guarding the crease for Les Rouges, Philly's offense may have serious difficulty. The Flyers seemed destined for a deep run off of three victories in round-robin play, yet now they're in danger of falling behind 2-1 to a team that was at the bottom of the East upon the NHL restart.
Since knocking off the Penguins in the qualifier round, Montreal has collectively picked up its play on both ends of the ice. There's a renewed sense of confidence — or perhaps, a mentality of playing with house money so to speak. Nothing to lose. Meanwhile, the Flyers stand to lose a lot, and are playing really tight and tense hockey at the minute.
It'll be interesting to see how Flyers goaltender Carter Hart responds to his first dose of playoff adversity. After a 3-0 start, he got rocked in Game 2 and pulled in the second period upon allowing four goals on 26 shots. Price is the more experienced netminder, yet Hart is one of the NHL's brightest young stars, with all the tools to answer the bell.
Price's postseason performance alone should give bettors pause before betting above the established goal total. Philly's top lines are bound to snap out of their funk soon, however, especially with such high stakes. Expect wagers to skew toward the Over as a result.
Regarding the spread and moneyline, it's definitely more profitable to bet on the Flyers to cover, which is where more action should go. Hedging that with either club winning outright is a sound strategy, with the majority going in for the favored Flyers' moneyline.
Note: Odds current as of 9:20 a.m. ET on Sunday, August 16.
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