NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blues vs. Canadiens (February 17)
Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso makes a save.
- The Montreal Canadiens host the St. Louis Blues in Thursday's NHL action.
- The Blues enter this showdown as whopping -265 moneyline favorites against the Canadiens, who are a shell of themselves compared to last year's Stanley Cup finalists.
- NHL betting analyst Grant White breaks down the meeting below and details why he's riding with visiting St. Louis.
Blues vs. Canadiens Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Eastern Conference-winning iteration of the Montreal Canadiens from last season is no more.
The team has moved on from its management. head coach and started shipping out movable pieces for pipeline considerations. Consequently, the rest of the season appears nothing more than a formality for a team already looking toward the future.
In contrast, the St. Louis Blues have looked good over their recent sample and will be ready to take on an underwhelming opponent.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have been trending upward over their recent sample, getting better in each of the past three games. Cumulatively, St. Louis has posted a 63.6% expected goals-for rating over that span, culminating with a 73.0% rating last time out against the Ottawa Senators. The Blues’ offense has facilitated those dominant metrics, showing no signs of slowing down as well.
St. Louis is dictating pace, posting above-average Corsi ratings in three of four and out-shooting its opponents in all four over its recent sample. The Blues have translated those impressive metrics to quality opportunities, attempting ten high-danger chances in three of their past four and equaling or out-chancing their opponents in all three contests.
Those solid production metrics are leading to more scoring, as the Blues have scored four or more in three consecutive games.
We also can’t look past the play of Ville Husso. This season, the Finnish netminder has been one of the best in the business, posting a 1.85 goals-against average while stopping 93.9% of shots.
His advanced metrics are just as impressive, as Husso is stopping 87.2% of high-danger chances, 91.5% of scoring chances, and 94.0% of even-strength shots. That’s going to make it even harder for an ineffective Canadiens team to find the back of the net.
Not much is going right for the Canadiens these days. Montreal ranks near the bottom of most advanced-metric categories, all of which is encapsulated in their 31st-ranked expected goals-for percentage.
There doesn’t appear to be any glimmer of hope on the horizon as they continue to get outplayed on a near-nightly basis.
Montreal has posted game scores below 50.0% in 10 of their past 12 games. Those metrics look even worse when adjusted for opponent. Just one of the Habs’ past five opponents has a winning record, with all five of those contests coming in their friendly confines.
The Canadiens have looked uninspired against inferior, and we’re not expecting a boost to their metrics.
Defensive zone coverage has been the primary issue for the Canadiens in their recent outings. Opponents have attempted 12 or more high-danger chances in four of the last five games, with a rolling average of 12.6 per contest.
Montreal is doing nothing to offset their defensive inefficiencies, getting out-chanced in scoring and high-danger opportunities in four of five games.
Blues vs. Canadiens Pick
The Canadiens are struggling and there’s no end in sight. Conversely, the Blues have put together some noteworthy performances over their recent stretch and are getting top-tier production, leading to elite scoring metrics.
Montreal hasn’t had the answer against teams playing worse than St. Louis, and we’re not expecting any different in this spot. Odds tied to the Blues on the moneyline should continue to climb, so buy them early.
Pick: St. Louis ML (-265)
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