Golden Knights vs. Canadiens NHL Betting Odds, Pick, Preview (Nov. 6)
André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner.
Golden Knights vs. Canadiens Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-115|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Vegas Golden Knights will take the ice at the Bell Centre for the first time since their Game 6 elimination at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens in last year’s playoff semifinal round.
Unfortunately, a number of the most crucial figures from last year’s hard-fought series won’t take the ice, but we can still expect a very exciting matchup contested in front of arguably hockey’s best atmosphere.
Who may have the upper hand as they face off with much realigned rosters?
Vegas Golden Knights
General manager Kelly McCrimmon managed to pull off a blockbuster Thursday, landing Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres and solidifying the Knights’ roster as a Stanley Cup contender. Eichel will join a lengthy injured reserve, and the team will be in tough to tread water until some of the meaningful pieces can return.
The depleted Knights seemed to get a boost from the news however, beating the Senators, 5-1, on Thursday and doing their part to keep the team from digging too deep a hole before some reinforcements are prepared to join the group.
Defensive stalwart Alec Martinez in his second game back since injury was notably solid, with him and Shea Theodore offer an excellent second pairing behind the top unit Nic Hague and Alex Pietrangelo.
Vegas’ deep defense goes as a crucial area of strength in the short term, given the losses up front of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and William Karlsson, even if in the early going the team has offered up a lot of chances against, likely more so a function of the meaningful forward losses leading to considerably worse support and inability to drive much of the play.
Considering who is out of the lineup, it’s impressive what the Knights still have to offer, but they will be in tough trying to simply stay above water until the big names comeback, and they get potentially a massive boost in Jack Eichel.
Robin Lehner should likely draw another start for the Knights, who likely would prefer to rest their main guy in the early going, but situations have not dictated such a luxury. Lehner has stopped .915 % of shots faced in stopping 4.6 goals saved above expected.
Was Montreal’s run to the Cup final last season a fluke? No, I certainly wouldn’t say so and I think that their horrible early play doesn’t make that idea any more accurate either.
The difference in results comes with some clear causation, as the roster and formula for success looks drastically different now, and is a good comment on how narrow the difference between winning and losing in the NHL can be.
During their magical playoff run Montreal skated four defensemen the lion’s share of minutes, being Shea Weber, Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry and Ben Chiarot. Well, both Shea Weber and Joel Edmunson have not played this season and Chiarot is notably less effective given regular season officiating standards.
The loss of Phillip Danault has been very meaningful as well, as he could be matched against elite competition and hold them to next to nothing offensively. Vegas saw this first hand as Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty managed next to nothing during 5-on-5 play during the six game series loss to the Habs.
Let’s not forget about Carey Price’s absence, although I truly felt Montreal were much better in front of him during the surprising run than many believed.
So altogether the defense is simply not the same, and the result has been the league’s sixth worst goals against per game mark of 3.33 and a 3-9 start to the season.
Jake Allen will likely draw the start for the contest. Allen has posted a .904 save % over 10 contests so far this season, and 0.0 goals saved above expected.
Knights vs. Canadiens Pick
It’s wild how much things have changed since I covered Game 6 between these two last year and Montreal proved my take correct that they would close it out. Well, at close to even money, I see value with backing Vegas to get a small measure of revenge.
The Habs simply haven’t found their form in the early going of this season, and I think it has become a big enough sample size where it’s hard to feel the results have been simply a slow start after a deep postseason run.
The causation seems to be clear skating a new look defense core, as well as the loss of Phil Danault and the team has been altogether much more gettable for the opposition offensively.
Cole Caufield was also in excellent form during the postseason run, but has been sent down to Laval to try to reignite his scoring touch. Altogether, the team seems to have a number of issues compared to what we saw during a postseason run where everything seemed to click.
So, while it’s hard to believe Montreal’s winning percentage won’t uptick to an extent from the dreadful current mark, it’s hard for me to see them trending up significantly, and feel that even factoring in Vegas current injury situation, the Knights hold value in this contest.
I also believe that although both teams have allowed a lot of goals in the early going, as well as offering poor xGA/60 ratings. This spot does not necessarily lend itself well to be a higher-scoring, wide-open affair, but more likely a cagey battle between teams who have not shown a ton of offensive prowess.
Therefore, I would be weary of backing the over, but I see the most value with backing Vegas to keep their season moving in the right direction and claim a huge win in the place of last year’s heartbreaking finish.
Pick: Golden Knights (-110 — Play to -125)