NHL Odds, Preview & Predictions: Canadiens vs. Coyotes (Monday, Jan. 17)

NHL Odds, Preview & Predictions: Canadiens vs. Coyotes (Monday, Jan. 17) article feature image

Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Suzuki.

  • The NHL's two worst teams meet as Arizona hosts Montreal on Monday afternoon.
  • The 31st- and 32nd-ranked team are close to a pick'em, so is there a smart bet to make in this game?
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Canadiens vs. Coyotes Odds

Canadiens Odds+105
Coyotes Odds-125
Over/Under5.5 (-105o / -115u)
Time4 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The league's 31st- and 32nd-ranked teams will battle in the desert Monday in this matinee, with Montreal heading into Arizona looking to snap its five-game losing streak against an Arizona club with a 8-24-4 record.

How can we expect this battle between the NHL's two worst teams offensively to play out?

Coyotes Remain Short On Offensive Talent

Arizona will enter this contest having put together some considerably scrappier efforts of late, with a 2-2-1 record over its last five which has included two games against the Avalanche, Leafs and the Predators.

Even still, a 36.74 xGF% over those contests is a markedly poor statistic, and a 1.82 xGF/60 suggests the 2.60 goals for per game over that span isn't necessarily likely to continue.

There are some offensive pieces coming around, and improved play from Clayton Keller offers Arizona at least one offensive star. But with that said, this group is notably thin with regards to offensive talent, and I think that this sets up as a much better matchup for Montreal than anything it has seen of late. Its depth players plugged into the lineup should be able to manage mistakes to a considerably better level than we saw over much of its recent road trip.

Karel Vejmelka has appeared better to the eye than his numbers suggest when given reasonable play, something he proved last week vs. Toronto before being left out to dry Saturday against Colorado with a number of unstoppable goals coming in.

He should start here, looking to build on his -1.3 goals saved above expected rating and .906 save % so far this season throughout 21 games played.

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Canadiens Roster Is Slowly Returning To Normal

On Thursday, Montreal finally skated in somewhat of a winnable contest, yet still a -200 underdog, as it managed a considerably better effort, falling in overtime on a very controversial 3-2 overtime winner to the Blackhawks.

It's easy to point out that with Montreal's disastrous COVID situation behind it, and not skating more of its AHL roster than true NHL'ers, we should see better results going forward. Looking towards the statistics and results from that time-frame will not give a clear indication of where this team is at.

It's amazing looking towards the still lengthy injury list to think this is now considerably better than it's been roster wise. This game vs. Arizona offers a great chance to play its way back into respectability, and I think we will see this team come out with a very urgent effort looking to show some pride in this treacherous season.

We shouldn't expect Montreal's lineup to be able to produce a ton of offense down the stretch, but I think that we will see it put together a sharp team effort here, not offering a lot in the way of defensive breakdowns and looking to keep it simple.

With Jake Allen headed back to the IR, it's unclear whether we will see Sam Montembault or Cayden Primeau here, but I would think letting 22-year-old Primeau try to follow up a strong performance against Chicago makes a lot of sense from an organizational standpoint here for Montreal.

Canadiens vs. Coyotes Pick

This game features the league's two worst offenses by goals for per game average, and I believe that it sets up as a good spot for a sneaky competitive contest between two teams sick of losing. That should lead to some lesser offensive outputs.

Yes, they both are two of the league's worst team's defensively to boot, but I do not see this one setting up as a barnburner in this spot, and I think we are more likely to see it play out closer to Montreal's 3-2 overtime loss against Chicago. I believe this will likely stay a close and low-scoring game, as we have consistently seen from Montreal when it plays lesser offensive groups of late.

The Coyotes have been playing considerably better in front of goal lately, even if efforts against Colorado, who simply dominate analytically and with regards to real production, don't exactly suggest so.

Montreal's awful goals against average of late has come against Florida, Tampa, Carolina and Boston. However, we saw them put together a much better defensive performance in Chicago on Thursday, and I think it can follow that up against this Arizona group.

There is a ton of pride still amongst any NHL locker room — even for these two cellar-dwellers — and I think this is likely to stay a less open, hard fought contest between these two teams with neither holding the offensive talents to break it open too often.

I think we have a better than two-to-one shot that this one stays under 5.5, and I would play it down to -120.

Pick: Under 5.5 +100 | Play to -120

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