Canadiens vs. Avalanche NHL Odds, Preview and Prediction

Canadiens vs. Avalanche NHL Odds, Preview and Prediction article feature image

David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cole Caufield.

  • Montreal, a team that has played above expectations, heads to Colorado to take on the Avalanche.
  • While Colorado is the better team, our analyst thinks there's value in a bet backing Montreal.
  • Continue reading for Ryan Dadoun's best bet.

Canadiens vs. Avalanche Odds

Canadiens Odds+235
Avalanche Odds-295
Over/Under6 (+100/-122)
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

There's no question the Colorado Avalanche are the favorites going into this game, but perhaps not to the extent they were expected to be before the season began. Although we may be past the worst of the Avalanche's injury woes, they're still missing key players. Meanwhile, Montreal hasn't been as bad as anticipated with a 15-15-2 record.

Still, is there any reason to seriously entertain the notion of selecting the underdog Canadiens in this game? Let's take a closer look.

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Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens went 22-49-11 last year and one look at their roster would tell you they're still clearly in their rebuilding phase. It's understandable that not much was expected of them going into this season, but they've still been respectable.

Some of the credit for that should go to coach Martin St. Louis. After all, the Canadiens improved significantly when he took over as the bench boss on Feb. 9, and Montreal has continued its positive trend in his first full season as head coach.

The Canadiens have also gotten a lot out of their young forward core. Through 32 games, Nick Suzuki has 15 goals and 31 points, Cole Caufield's contributed 19 goals and 28 points and Kirby Dach's provided five goals and 22 points. The success of those three gives Canadiens fans reason to be optimistic about the future. For now though, they just don't have enough support.

Montreal has just four players with at least 15 points. By contrast, Colorado has seven, and the Avalanche rank just 23rd offensively. Still, that's better than Montreal, which is 27th offensively with 2.75 goals per game.

To make matters worse, one of Montreal's four players with at least 15 points is Sean Monahan, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury.

In net, Jake Allen has struggled too. He's posted a 9-12-0 record, 3.33 GAA and a .897 save percentage. Sam Montembeault has done better with a 6-3-2 record, 2.89 GAA and a .912 save percentage, but it hasn't been enough to wrestle the starting gig away from Allen. Montembeault has only started three of Montreal's past 11 games, and he got the nod on Monday. So, we'll probably see Allen start against the Avalanche.

While the Canadiens' 15-15-2 record is impressive in the context of what was expected going into the season, this is still a team with some major flaws that doesn't yet measure up to the likes of the Avalanche.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche are missing two of their key forwards in Gabriel Landeskog (knee) and Nathan MacKinnon (upper body), but the team has been getting healthier and has been on a roll, winning four of its past five games.

Colorado's recent run has pushed its record to 17-11-2, but the Avalanche's success in 2022-23 hasn't come thanks to their forwards. As noted above, the Avalanche are a bit better than the Canadiens offensively, but are still in the bottom tier of the league. Colorado isn't trending in the right direction either. While the Avalanche have won four of their past five games, they've averaged just 2.20 goals over that span.

Alexandar Georgiev has played a big role in the Avalanche's success. He's 13-6-2 with a 2.46 GAA and a .923 save percentage, and he's been particularly effective lately, allowing just five goals over his past four games. Colorado also has just 55.83 expected goals against this season, per Moneypuck, which is the fourth lowest in the league. Georgiev has done great, but he's also been backed by a superb defense.

Given the Canadiens' limited scoring threats, Montreal might struggle to find the back of the net against Colorado.

While two of the Avalanche's best forwards are out, Mikko Rantanen is available and having one of the best seasons of his career with 21 goals and 38 points in 30 contests. Valeri Nichushkin, who has seven goals and 16 points in 13 games, and Artturi Lehkonen, who has eight goals and 21 points in 27 contests, are healthy now too. So Rantanen has some strong backup. Of course, there's also defenseman Cale Makar, who is having another outstanding campaign with seven goals and 28 points in 30 games.

Canadiens vs. Avalanche Pick

It's not surprising that the Avalanche are regarded as the clear favorites on the moneyline. I'm not about to suggest grabbing the Canadiens on the moneyline, even with a solid potential payout, but when I look at the puck line, things get more interesting.

The spread is 1.5 goals in Montreal's favor, and if you take the Canadiens on the puck line, your potential payout on FanDuel stands at -112. That's not bad, and given Colorado's defense-first approach, the idea that this game will come down to a single goal isn't absurd. In fact, four of Colorado's past six games have been decided by a single goal, as well as three of the Canadiens' past five contests.

When you combine two teams that have been underwhelming offensively, you're likely to end up with a tight, low-scoring affair. Normally, I'd give serious consideration to the under, but both FanDuel and BetMGM are putting the over/under at just 5.5 goals.

Instead, I recommend taking Montreal on the puck line. I'm not saying the Canadiens are going to win, I'm just saying this will likely be a 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2 game.

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