Bruins vs. Canadiens Odds, Picks, Predictions: Lay it With Boston
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 18: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins.
Bruins vs. Canadiens Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
Bitter rivals Montreal and Boston get reacquainted for the third time this season Monday at the Bell Centre, with the Bruins winning each of the previous contests by a combined 10-3.
However, the Canadiens have clearly been a different group since the addition of Martin St. Louis behind the bench. Can Montreal keep the strong play going here?
Bruins Finding Scoring Depth
Boston continued to show that it holds more offensive depth capable of moving the needle this season Friday in Winnipeg. The Bruins managed four goals on 45 shots while playing without captain Patrice Bergeron, with the victory moving the club’s record to 11-2-1 over a dominant 30 days of play.
Aside from the fact that the Eastern Conference and Atlantic division are absolutely stacked with true contenders, it’s actually reasonable to say that this current Bruins roster has as good of hopes as any recent core to win it all this spring.
Over the 11-2-1 tear, Boston has played to the league’s top expected goals rate at 59.55%, and have found success splitting up the perfection trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak of late.
Having that trio split apart, as well as more meaningful contributions from depth names like Charlie Coyle, Craig Smith, and Jake Debrusk has the Bruins skating a more dangerous looking unit at 5-on-5 than we have often seen in recent years.
The team’s defensive team play continues to be rock solid, featuring a number of strong two-way forwards, and a deep back end led by one of the league’s very best in Charlie McAvoy.
On Saturday, GM Don Sweeney dealt for defenseman Hampus Lindholm, a great addition which will effectively round out the Bruins top four, and we will possibly see more movement from Boston during Monday’s trade deadline. Lindholm will not make his debut Monday however.
Jeremy Swayman will likely get the start here, looking to build on a tremendous start to his NHL career. After an excellent third of a season last year, Swayman has followed that play up with a +11.2 goals saved above expected rating, with an elite .925 save percentage in 29 games.
Canadiens Showing Some Signs of Life
Montreal enter this one after somewhat of an up-and-down week, which featured a 6-3 home thumping at the hands of the Coyotes, and a 4-3 overtime loss to the Stars, before taking advantage of the Senators in a favorable spot Saturday.
The Senators remain short a number of key pieces, and were in the midst of a back-to-back spot. Montreal handled the situation accordingly, dishing out a firm 5-1 pummeling, and building on a strong start to the coaching career of NHL legend Martin St. Louis.
Montreal has played to a 50.27% expected goals rate over the last month, which is solid, but it is safe to say that the club is now likely due for some regression compared to the well past .500 mark, particularly when faced with a club offering some truly elite form like the Bruins.
The goaltending tandem of Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault does figure to be below average, so winning games with a relatively middling control of play at such a high rate likely isn’t feasible long term. Although this group has clearly done a ton of things right of late and deserves a lot of credit for turning around an abysmal season.
It seems more likely we see Jake Allen get a chance to build on a solid return from injury here than a start for Montembeault.
Allen has played to a -4.5 goals saved above expected rating with a .903 save percentage in 26 games this season.
Bruins vs. Canadiens Pick
As much I have enjoyed watching the Canadiens turnaround under Martin St. Louis, as well as often backing Montreal to win during the last month and change, I do not think this is a good spot for them.
Much of Montreal’s success has come against some easier competition over that time, and over the last week we have seen some of the cracks that surely still exist for this club show through at times.
The back end still features some softer pieces, who opponents can get to when forced to play in the defensive zone for longer periods of time, and Boston will likely force more play in Montreal’s zone than most recent competition have managed.
Behind that, Montembeault or Allen are both below average starting goaltending options, and it will unlikely for either to cover up should Montreal’s defensive play falter against a Bruins team who continue to see more lines generating offensive effectively of late.
Much of the Canadiens success during this run has also been led by the improved and opportunistic offensive play, but Boston could arguably be the least likely team league wide to allow that to continue. Defensive breakdowns are traditionally tough to find from this Bruins team, and when they do occur, Swayman has been very strong.
I think that more than 50% of the time we should see Boston win this game somewhat comfortably, and in turn I see value backing the Bruins to cover the puckline at +105.
Pick: Boston Bruins -1.5 +105, (Play to -110)
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