NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Canadiens (November 24)
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Canadiens vs. Capitals Odds
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The Washington Capitals return home on Wednesday after a four game road trip to take on the Montreal Canadiens.
Washington finished with a record of 2-1-1 on said road trip, and now enter Wednesday’s matchup with an overall record of 11-3-5 and in second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Meanwhile, the Habs are just 5-13-2 on the season and have struggled to get their feet under them after losing eight of their first 10 games to start the season.
We have two teams that are trending in opposite directions on our hands in this one. Will that remain the case on Wednesday, or will we see Montreal get the upset in the nation’s capital?
The Habs Are A Mess
The Canadiens managed to make the Stanley Cup Final last season, but a disastrous start to the 2021-2022 NHL season has appeared to derail any chance they had to make it back.
As previously mentioned, this is a team that lost eight of their first 10 games, and things have not gotten much better since that point. Montreal is just 3-5-1 in their last 10 games, allowing its opponents to score an average of 3.4 goals per game while they have countered that with just and average of 2.5 goals of their own.
The lack of scoring throughout the season has been alarming and is a major reason why this team finds themselves in the situation they are in. As a team in 5-on-5 situations, the Habs are scoring just 1.81 goals per 60 minutes, down from 2.32 a year ago, and have only scored a total of 29 goals.
Furthermore, they have only scored more than two goals in one of their nine road games this season. This offense is essentially non-existent when they are away from their home ice.
Montreal is ranked 16th in Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes with 2.29, showing that the defense has been slightly better than the offense. However, they are still an average unit on that end of the ice and could easily be overwhelmed by the Caps offense in this one.
Jake Allen will make the start in net, having lost three of his last four starts and allowing an average of 3.25 goals per game in that span. In 5-on-5 this season, Allen has an SV % of .917, HDSV % of .781, and 0.4 Goals Saved Above Expected.
Washington’s Defense Leads the Way
Washington once again looks like a contender, and a big part of the reason why is because of their stellar play on the defensive end of the ice.
In 5-on-5, the Caps are giving up just 1.74 goals per 60 minutes, which is not much lower than the 2.06 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes that they have generated through 19 games. In addition, Washington has surrendered just 27 total goals in 5-on-5, the sixth lowest amount in the NHL this season.
Opponents have had trouble maneuvering through this squad, and we will likely see a struggling Montreal offense run into the same problems.
The Caps are a great offensive unit as well, scoring the second-most goals in 5-on-5 and 3.03 goals per 60 minutes, third best in the NHL. Washington has a goal differential of +13 in the month of November as well, a trend that will likely continue on Wednesday.
No starter has been named in net at the time of writing, but everything is pointing towards Ilya Samsonov getting the start. In 5-on-5, Samsonov has an SV % of .928 and 2.5 Goals Saved Above Expected, and he has shutout his opponent in each of his last two starts.
Canadiens vs. Capitals Pick
Washington is coming off a bad 5-2 loss against Seattle on Sunday, but I wouldn’t look into that loss too much because it was the back end of a back-to-back and the last game of a long road trip.
Returning to their home ice will be the refresher that this team needs, and I expect them to take full advantage of it especially if Samsonov ends up getting the start in net.
Montreal is just 1-7-1 on the road, has been vulnerable all season on defense, and clearly lacks the ability to score the puck consistently. I can see the Caps taking control of this game early and winning big.
Pick: Washington -1.5 (+115)
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