NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canadiens vs. Islanders (November 4)
John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Bailey
Canadiens vs. Islanders Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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After playing just once in the last 10 days, the New York Islanders continue their unprecedented 13-game road trip in Montreal on Thursday night. The Isles are slight road favorites over the Habs, who were last seen defeating Detroit, 3-0, to notch their third win of the season.
This matchup may not be the wide open style of hockey casual fans want to watch, but it does make for an interesting game to bet.
Can the Isles Score More Than Twice?
The Islanders are considered a Stanley Cup contender thanks to their defensive structure, goaltending and the team-wide buy in to Barry Trotz’s system. While the Isles are expected to once again have one of the best defensive units in the league this season, the team can do with more offensive production in the early going.
The Islanders currently rank 23rd in the NHL with 2.43 goals per game and are 27th in expected goals created (2.06) per 60 minutes. In other words, the Isles are struggling to score and generate chances right now.
Last season, the Islanders were one of the best teams at generating and preventing high-danger scoring chances. That hasn’t been the case in the early going in 2021/22 as the team boasts a 43.3% high-danger chance rate, per Natural Stat Trick.
The lack of offense would be a much bigger concern if the Islanders weren’t so dominant in their defensive end. Thanks to Ilya Sorokin’s stellar play in net, the Islanders have only allowed three goals in their last three contests. Sorokin had shutouts in two out of those three games, there is no question that he has been the back bone of this team.
Whether Barry Trotz goes back to Sorokin or gives Semyon Varlamov his season debut is up in the air, but both netminders are reliable options.
Can the Habs Turn It Around?
The Montreal Canadiens have struggled to a 3-8 record and a -12 goal differential out of the gates. Most people predicted a step back for a team that made a magical run to the Cup Final in 2021, but few thought it could get this ugly, this quick.
Montreal comes into Thursday night ranked 30th in goals per game, 23rd in expected goals per 60 minutes and 21st in goals allowed per contest. It’s been a real grind for this team, but that shouldn’t be that much of a shock since it lost three integral pieces of its spine with Shea Weber and Carey Price stepping away from the team and Phillip Danault signing with Los Angeles.
Veteran netminder Jake Allen has been doing everything he can to keep the Habs afloat while Price has been out, posting a .914 save percentage and a +1.54 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in nine games.
Canadiens vs. Islanders Pick
This contest has a good recipe for a play on the Under 5.5.
Neither offense has found its stride, plus neither team is really built to play wide-open hockey, so I think this will be more of a chess match than a shootout.
No matter who Trotz selects as his goaltender, this game should have a strong goaltending matchup with Allen in good form for the Habs.
Pick: Under 5.5