Flyers Open as -240 Favorites Over Canadiens in Eastern Conference First Round
The Montreal Canadiens haven't won a Stanley Cup playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers since 1989. Photo by: @NHLdotcom (Twitter).
- The Phiadelphia Flyers are -240 favorites to beat the Montreal Canadiens in their Stanley Cup first-round playoff series
- Montreal hasn’t beaten Philly in a postseason series since 1989. Are the Habs due?
- Anaylsis of this series and predictions on the outcome follow in the ensuing story
The Philadelphia Flyers picked up right where they left off as the NHL’s return to play got underway. The Montreal Canadiens, on the other hand, made NHL history.
The Flyers had won nine of 10 when the NHL season was paused March 12th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Philly won all three of its games during the resumption of play to clinch top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal, meanwhile, stunned the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games to win their Stanley Cup qualifying-round series. The Habs, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference play-in round, are the first #12 seeds to participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
That accomplishment hasn’t won over the hearts and minds of the oddsmakers, mind you. The Canadiens go into this series as the +195 underdog. At a betting line of +3600, Montreal is also the longest shot on the board in the 2020 Stanley Cup odds among teams that have advanced through the play-in portion of the tournament.
Canadiens vs Flyers Series Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
Odds taken Aug. 9
The Flyers are the -240 odds-on chalk to take this series. Philly is +700 to win the Stanley Cup.
2020 Art Ross Trophy Odds Tracker
Flyers Holding Edge
During the regular season, Philadelphia won two of three games from Montreal. Balanced scoring was a key to success for the Flyers against Montreal. Six different players collected two points through the three games.
Forwards Sean Couturier, Joel Farabee, Travis Konecny and defenseman Ivan Provorov all posted 1-1-2 totals. In his one victory against the Habs, goalie Carter Hart made 22 saves in a 3-2 overtime verdict on November 7th.
Canadiens vs Flyers Head-to-Head Stats
|28.8||Shots per Game||25.0|
|33.5||Shots Allowed per Game||26.0|
|3-3-0||Previous Playoff Series||3-3-0|
Forwards Tomas Tatar (2-3-5) and Phillip Danault (0-5-5) did the heavy lifting for Montreal. Goaltender Carey Price was 1-0-1 in two starts against Philly. He posted a 1.98 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
Montreal took a 4-1 verdict on January 16th at the Wells Fargo Center to end a two-game losing streak against the Flyers.
After taking out the Penguins, Montreal will seek to complete the Pennsylvania two step by toppling the Flyers. In Stanley Cup history, just two teams have defeated both of the NHL’s clubs from the Keystone State in the same year.
The 1995 New Jersey Devils dropped Pittsburgh in the second round and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference final.
Flyers outscored top 3 seeds in Eastern Conference
#1 seed Flyers
#12 seed Canadiens
Flyers 91 points
Montreal 71 points
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 9, 2020
In 1996, the Florida Panthers ousted the Flyers in the second round and the Penguins in the ECF.
The Devils won the Stanley Cup. The Panthers lost in the Cup final to the Colorado Avalanche.
Jeff Petry scored a pair of game-winning goals during the five-game decision over Pittsburgh. He became the fifth Canadiens defenseman in franchise history with multiple game winners in the same playoff year.
Posting the winner for his @CanadiensMTL in Gm3 tonight (as he did in Gm1), Jeff Petry joins J.C. Tremblay (3 in 1971), Guy Lapointe (1971), Serge Savard (1976) & Chris Chelios (1989) as the only defencemen in Habs history with multiple game winning goals in a single playoff year pic.twitter.com/pR6baucs3d
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) August 6, 2020
J.C. Tremblay (three in 1971), Guy Lapointe (1971), Serge Savard (1976) and Chris Chelios (1989) were the others. Montreal reached the Stanley Cup final in each of those previous seasons, winning the Cup three times.
In five of the six previous Montreal-Philadelphia playoff series, the winning team reached the Stanley Cup final. But those teams won the Cup just two out of those five occasions.
The last two times these teams met in postseason play – in 2010 and 2008 – the Flyers won the series four games to one. DraftKings is offering a +335 betting line on that exact series outcome this time around.
A Heavy Price To Pay
The Penguins were a good matchup for the smallish Canadiens. Pittsburgh was a skating, high-end skill team.
The Flyers are a big team that plays a heavy game. That’s the style of hockey that generally leads to long-term success in the playoffs.
There are currently nine players in the NHL who have played at least 30 minutes at 5v5 and been on the ice for at least four goals for and none against. Six of them will be playing in the Flyers-Canadiens series: Weber, Lehkonen, Byron, Kotkaniemi, Myers, Sanheim.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) August 9, 2020
That being said, the Canadiens have fared decently in recent seasons against Philly, owning a 3-1-4 record over the past eight games.
Expect the Flyers to wear down Montreal and outlast the Canadiens in this series.
Pick: Philadelphia Flyers (-240).
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.
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