Face-off: 1900 ET, 30/12/2021
Venue: PNC Arena
Carolina were in red-hot form prior to the extended Christmas break and look ready to pick up where they left off when hosting Montreal.
The Canadiens have already returned to action with a gutsy overtime loss at Tampa Bay but could find this a tougher second leg of their road trip.
October’s head-to-head clash in Canada ended with a 4-1 victory for the Hurricanes, who are backed to win by three again at 4.2 in our NHL predictions.
Carolina Hurricanes Odds
Carolina made it six wins out of seven when thrashing Los Angeles Kings 5-1 at PNC Arena last time out.
The Hurricanes are third in the Eastern Conference with a 27-7-3 record and 43 points, 25 more than basement dwellers Montreal.
Crucially, they have also cut their Covid list down from 12 to three during the lay-off, with only Brendan Smith, Jesper Fast and Fredrik Andersen unavailable.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi commented: “We’ve had a little rest and that’s been good for the guys.
“We’ve got some of the guys back from the Covid-19 list, had a little training camp over the last four days and I think we’re ready to go now.”
Antti Raanta is a solid replacement for Andersen in goal, with the Finnish veteran 4-2-1 when called up this term.
Carolina have conceded a league-low 14 times in the third period, eight fewer than the next best, while Montreal have the leakiest defence in the final stanza, letting in 42 goals.
Looking at the 1.8 for the Hurricanes to win P3 hard to resist.
Montreal Canadiens Odds
To be fair to Montreal, they have shown plenty of spirit in their last couple of matches.
Philadelphia were shaded 3-2 in a shootout a fortnight ago and Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Lightning also lacked nothing in effort.
The Canadiens led 4-3 before conceding with just 20 seconds left in regulation and then suffered more heartbreak in overtime.
Unfortunately, the Canadiens continue to be decimated by Covid protocols, with forward Paul Byron and goaltender Cayden Primeau added to a lengthy list of absentees yesterday.
Forwards Laurent Dauphin, Mike Hoffman, Artturi Lehkonen and Tyler Toffoli were already out, along with defencemen Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry and Chris Wideman, plus goaltender Jake Allen.
Carolina have only conceded one goal in three of their last four wins and will be eyeing another clinical victory here.
Let’s finish off our Carolina Hurricanes vs Montreal Canadiens predictions by taking 10.5 for a 4-1 home success.
CAROLINA 5-1 Los Angeles
Tampa Bay 5-4 MONTREAL
Head-to-head: Montreal 1-4 Carolina, Montreal 4-3 Carolina, Carolina 3-1 Montreal, Carolina 1-0 Montreal
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