NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Canadiens vs. Hurricanes (March 31)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Canadiens vs. Hurricanes (March 31) article feature image

Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen.

  • The Carolina Hurricanes host the Montreal Canadiens in Thursday's NHL contest.
  • Both sides have struggled on the offensive end of the ice, leading analyst Grant White to a play on the game total.
  • Check out below why he's expecting a low-scoring affair in this Eastern Conference tilt.

Canadiens vs. Hurricanes Odds

Canadiens Odds+310
Hurricanes Odds-400
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Montreal Canadiens have faltered during their recent schedule and things don't appear to be getting any easier ahead of Thursday’s road game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Canadiens have dropped two contests in a row and seven of their past 10 outings, with four of those losses coming in overtime. With few metrics working in its favor, it remains unwise to back Montreal.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has been bad, but its metrics paint an even uglier picture. The Canadiens have been outplayed at 5-on-5 in seven consecutive games, usually by a big margin.

Six of their seven game scores have fallen below 40.0%, as they’re getting thoroughly dominated at both ends of the ice.

The Canadiens have given up at least 11 quality and 23 scoring chances in all seven of those contests, but their averages illustrate how bad they've been during that span. Montreal is conceding an average of 15.9 high-danger and 33.7 scoring chances.

There are no green sprouts in their metrics either, as the Canadiens posted a Corsi rating above 42.0% in their past four tilts.

Worse, they’re doing nothing to offset their defensive shortcomings. Just once during that seven-game sample has Montreal attempted more than nine high-danger opportunities, failing to eclipse 21 scoring chances in a game.

Consequently, the Canadiens have been out-chanced in both categories in all games and are constantly chasing the puck. That’s a strategy that won't fly against one of the best analytics teams in the league.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes rank fifth in expected goals for percentage, relying on efficient play at both ends of the ice. Carolina is ninth in scoring chances and fourth in scoring chances against, posting the third-best Corsi rating at 5-on-5 in the process. The knock against the Hurricanes lately is that they’ve hit a bit of a rough patch.

Carolina hasn't attempted more than nine high-danger chances in any of their past three games, with scoring opportunities also staying below 21 as well. The offense is flourishing, despite the decreased opportunities, and has scored 16 goals in its past three games, with 10 of those coming at 5-on-5 on the ice.

Without question, the Hurricanes are the better team. However, we do have some apprehensions about their current form. Carolina has landed on an unsustainable balance that suggests its offense should regress over the coming games, as production balances with output.

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Canadiens vs. Hurricanes Pick

Clearly, there’s a jump in quality between these teams reflected in the advanced metrics, but is also in the betting price.

Carolina’s offensive metrics have taken a hit over its recent sample. Although Montreal has been terrible of late, the team is operating well below season norms and should see an improvement in its metrics.

Typically, that doesn't immediately lead to wins, but it should help this game stay under the total and I’ll make it my top pick.

Pick: Total Under 6 Goals (-105)

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