Canadiens vs. Canucks Odds & Picks: Back Visiting Canadiens To Exact Revenge (Jan. 21)

Canadiens vs. Canucks Odds & Picks: Back Visiting Canadiens To Exact Revenge (Jan. 21) article feature image
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Rich Lam/Getty Images. Pictured: Montreal Canadiens standout Tyler Toffoli.

  • Montreal faces Vancouver for the second consecutive night in Thursday's NHL action.
  • Can the Canadiens rebound from their overtime defeat against the host Canucks?
  • Matt Russell believes so and tells us why he's backing Montreal again below.

Canadiens vs. Canucks Odds

Canadiens Odds -1.5 (+185)
Canucks Odds +1.5 (-245)
Moneyline -134/+116
Over/Under 6
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
TV NHL.tv
Odds as of Thursday at 12 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

I don’t know why you would, but if for some reason you were trying to awaken your opponent’s dormant power play, what would you do to accomplish this self sabotage?

Probably take as many penalties as possible to give it the most opportunities to gain some confidence.

Through two periods of play Wednesday in Vancouver, it seemed like the Montreal Canadiens were deploying a strategy similar to the one from the movie, “Dodgeball.” Needless to say, that was the boldest of moves.

Six power-play opportunities for the Canucks through two periods allowed their scuffling offense to gain some steam. And by the time the dust settled, the Canucks had converted 3 of 6 power plays on their way to a 6-5 overtime/shootout win against the visiting Canadiens.

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Montreal Canadiens

In this same space a day ago, I talked about Vancouver’s offensive struggles and Montreal being the team you don’t want to deal with after a long-layoff, when Rogers Arena workers aren’t even bothering to check to see if the goal light works behind the opposition’s net.

This is where fans of the Canadiens would argue that many of these penalty calls were more than a bit sketchy, and even if they weren’t, the one power play the Canadiens earned isn’t an appropriate number.

Montreal even converted their lone man-advantage chance, and once the dust settled, it had tied the game — and even took the lead — in the third period. Despite the 3-1 power-play goal deficit, the Canadiens won the 5-on-5 battle as expected, with 1.99 Expected Goals For (xGF) to Vancouver’s 1.52, according to naturalstattrick.com.

Sadly for those who backed the Habs, the Canucks answered the 5-4 goal deficit with an equalizer less than a minute later and we found ourselves in the noted shootout.


Vancouver Canucks

They may have trouble generating High-Danger Chances when playing 5-on-5, despite the pair of game-tying goals scored in the opener against Montreal.

Unfortunately for those betting the Habs in the opening game of the three-game set, the Canucks’ individual talent showed up big time in the shootout to secure the two points. Even though the Canadiens did earn a point in the standings, their backers got nothing in return. However,  they deserved better.

Vancouver generated only six in the opening contest, commensurate with its struggles against Calgary, and weren’t able to convert any of the chances. Obviously, the offensive issues plaguing this team before Wednesday’s game still linger. Nothing that happened that would come close to hiding the Canucks’ problems on defence either, as Montreal went 3 for 11 on HDCs.

Canadiens-Canucks Pick

Had we seen Vancouver come out hot, dominating a good Montreal side 5-on-5 and winning a 6-5 game in regulation, we’d be quite impressed and willing to look past the slow start to the season. Yet, that’s not what happened.

This was the mother of all bailout games for the Canucks, as their star players took the ice repeatedly in the offensive zone with the man advantage. 

For the Habs to get the result, they need a trio of accomplishable things:

  • Get a few calls to go their way, which is something that should regress to the mean. At least better than the 6-to-1 ratio in Wednesday’s contest.
  • Receive better goaltending. The low-key concern for Montreal has to be which version of Carey Price they’re getting this season. Will it be the outstanding edition they benefited from in the Bubble in August? Or will it be last season’s mediocre metrics from their big-money goaltender? This issue should be on hold, as Jake Allen is expected to get the call tonight. In his lone start, Allen posted a stellar +1.44 GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average). Meanwhile, Price has struggled to sub-par levels of -1.90 GSAA. 
  • Do everything else the same: Generate High-Danger Chances at even strength  then convert on them at a decent clip. 

Given the metrics from Wednesday’s game, I would definitely make that bet on Montreal again. The line has barely changed from the first matchup, showing the market isn’t buying any adjustment from what happened on the ice.

Our “Let’s Do That Hockey” model at THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast has even more of a Montreal edge, upgrading it with this great 5-on-5 effort and installing it as a -160 favorite to win the rematch. 

Pick: Canadiens (-134 or better) 

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