Canadiens vs. Jets Game 1 Odds & Betting Preview: Winnipeg Favored to Beat Montreal in Round 2 (Wednesday, June 2)
David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cole Caufield
Canadiens vs. Jets Odds
|Time||Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday and via DraftKings|
It’s not what fans expected, but give credit to the Winnipeg Jets and the Montreal Canadiens for earning the opportunity to battle for the North Division title.
The Jets won three-straight overtime games to sweep Connor McDavid and the No. 2 Edmonton Oilers, while the Montreal Canadiens rebounded from a 3-1 series deficit to take out the top team in the North, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
One similarity between both triumphant squads — their Vezina Trophy-winning goalies came to play. After subpar regular seasons by their lofty standards, Carey Price and Connor Hellebuyck are now dialed in and back at the top of their games.
With the three Stateside series all well underway, the Habs and Jets will have some catching up to do. Montreal gets just one day’s rest before kicking off Round 2 in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
Complete Canadiens Clicking At The Right Time
Price wrote the headlines, but the Canadiens players in front of him found a way to succeed when their season was on the line.
Longtime Montreal sparkplug Brendan Gallagher got the scoring started in Game 7; past Stanley Cup winners Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli took it from there.
Toffoli came out of the series leading Montreal with five points in seven games; Perry and another Cup-winning veteran acquired for his experience, Eric Staal, each had four.
But the Canadiens also got important contributions from their up-and-coming youngsters. Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi fearlessly kept Montreal’s season alive with their overtime game-winners in Games 5 and 6 against Toronto.
Finally, there’s the shut-down man. In Round 1, Phillip Danault drew the assignment of stopping the NHL’s top goal scorer, Auston Matthews. And he pulled it off — Matthews let go a team-high 35 shots in the series, but only one beat Price.
After playing seven hard games in 12 nights, including two that went to overtime, the Canadiens could be running on fumes when they touch down in Winnipeg. Or will the adrenaline rush of their epic comeback still be coursing through their veins?
Rested Jets Ready To Roll
The Jets needed just six days to eliminate the Oilers. And while a 4-0 sweep looks one-sided, every game was close.
Just like Montreal, the team’s success started in net, where Connor Hellebuyck’s .950 save percentage is the best in the playoffs and his 1.60 goals-against average is tied with Philipp Grubauer of Colorado.
And like Montreal, the Jets were facing some formidable shooters. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl finished 1-2 in total points in the regular season, but Draisaitl was limited to just two goals in the series and McDavid had only one. In three overtime situations, including triple OT in Game 4, the pair could not break through and beat Hellebuyck.
Offensively, the Jets were led by their two top stars, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, who had five points each. But Winnipeg is the rare team that can generate offense from three lines. Nikolaj Ehlers and Pierre-Luc Dubois both returned from injuries during Round 1 and were impactful on a second line with Paul Stastny, while Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp and Mason Appleton can threaten, especially if matched up against a third defense pairing.
The Jets should also hold the edge in the face-off circle. Danault is the ace for Montreal, but the Jets centers are all strong, with Lowry and Nate Thompson able to deliver big wins on the defensive side of the puck.
Betting Analysis & Pick
|Goals For per 60 minutes (5-on-5)||1.55||2.08|
|Goals Against per 60 (5-on-5)||2.07||1.38|
|Goal Differential per 60 (5-on-5)||-0.52||+0.70|
|Expected Goals per 60 (5-on-5)||1.79||1.82|
|Expected Goals Against per 60 (5-on-5)||2.47||2.59|
|Expected Goal Differential per 60 (5-on-5)||-0.68||-0.77|
|High-Danger Scoring Chances per 60 (5-on-5)||7.41||8.99|
|High-Danger Scoring Chances Allowed per 60 (5-on-5)||10.17||13.84|
|Power Play %||15.8%||30.0%|
|Penalty Kill %||87.0%||81.8%|
|Expected Save Percentage||.9315||.9375|
|Save Percentage (starting goalie)||.932||.950|
|Goals Saved Above Expectation (starting goalie)||6.8||7.5|
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.
Though they executed their upsets very differently, there’s not a ton of variance between the two teams’ advanced stats from the first round.
Special teams will be something to watch — the Jets’ red-hot power play will be going up against an excellent Montreal penalty kill. And while the data doesn’t explicitly show this, Montreal was opportunistic with the man advantage as they fought off elimination: 2-for-4 in Game 6 and 1-for-1 in Game 7, with their only power-play goals of the series.
After sitting on the sidelines for eight days — and probably spending a lot more time game-planning for Toronto than Montreal — the Jets could be rusty when they get back into action on Wednesday. But a healthy, rested Winnipeg team that’s playing on home ice should hold the edge.
Now that this Canadiens group has shown that it can conjure up some playoff magic, don’t necessarily rule them out to win the series.
But the safe bet for Game 1 is a win for Winnipeg, who have been given a 56.5% chance to win.
With the way Hellebuyck and Price have been playing, the under could also be a savvy play.
Pick: Jets (-130) | Play up to -150
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