NHL Odds, Preview & Prediction: Capitals vs. Canadiens (Thursday, Feb. 10)

NHL Odds, Preview & Prediction: Capitals vs. Canadiens (Thursday, Feb. 10) article feature image

Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Montembeault.

  • Martin St. Louis makes his coaching debut against the Capitals tonight in Montreal.
  • As usual this season, the Canadiens and their leaky defense are heavy underdogs.
  • Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Capitals vs. Canadiens Odds

Capitals Odds-220
Canadiens Odds+180
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Washington Capitals head on the road to take on the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals are looking to turn things around following two straight home losses, while the Habs will try to defend home ice and whatever is left of their pride.

The over has hit in this matchup in seven of these teams' last 10 meetings. Will we see another high-scoring affair here, or will we finally get some good goaltending?

Caps Need Improved Play Between Pipes

The Capitals are hitting the road following Tuesday's 5-4 home loss to the Blue Jackets. Washington's offense continues to click, having scored three or more goals in four straight games.

Washington's defense, however, continues to struggle. The Caps have allowed four or more goals in three straight games, partly due to backup goaltender Ilya Samsonov and AHL goaltender Phoenix Copley getting starts while Vitek Vanecek nurses an upper body injury.

Samsonov is projected to start this one. He has really struggled of late, allowing three or more goals in nine of his last 11 starts. These numbers are not out of the norm this season for Samsonov, who boasts a 0.902 save percentage and currently ranks 26th amongst starting goaltenders in 5-on-5 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx).

Can St. Louis Hiring Boost Habs?

The big news around the hockey world was the Canadiens' hiring of Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis as their new head coach. The news shocked many, including me, but the Canadiens seemed to have seen enough of Dominique Ducharme following Tuesday's embarrassing 7-1 home loss to the Devils.

While the St. Louis hiring was equally shocking and interesting, he cannot fix the Habs' putrid defense and goaltending overnight. Montreal has allowed a staggering 33 goals over its last five games for a horrific average of 6.6 per game.

Montreal's defense has been a problem all season, as it ranks 30th in the league in 5-on-5 expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA). This figure stems from the fact that the Habs allow many high-danger scoring chances each night and rank 24th in average expected goal value of opposing 5-on-5 shot attempts.

Sam Montembeault is expected to start tonight in net for the Habs. He has been brutal this season, posting a 0.891 save percentage and currently ranks 27th amongst starting goaltenders in 5-on-5 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes.

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Capitals-Canadiens Pick

As I stated at the beginning, the over has been the bet between these teams of late. It has been a trend for these two teams recently, as well, with the Capitals have gone over six in three straight games and the Habs in five in a row.

Heck, Montreal has let its opponents score at least six goals by themselves in four of their last five games. I expect to see the Canadiens continue their season-long meltdown, and six combined goals should not be hard to gather.

Pick:  Over 6 (-115, play to -125)

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