NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Rangers vs. Canadiens
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Igor Shesterkin.
- The Rangers, who have won back-to-back games, travel to Montreal to face a Canadiens squad that has lost five in a row.
- New York is the better side, but where is the betting value?
- Nick Martin previews the game and shares his best bet below.
Rangers vs. Canadiens Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Montreal will finally take the ice at home after a lengthy stretch of road games dating back to December 19th. The Canadiens went just 1-5-1 on the lengthy road swing, and seem to be settling in to true lottery team form.
New York enters this matchup on a 10-2-1 tear, which has come with improved special teams play and Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Igor Shesterkin displaying more elite form.
New York Rangers
New York may not be playing the most dominant brand of hockey, but the Rangers seem to be consistently finding ways to win games under head coach Gerard Gallant.
Throughout much of the 2021-22 season, pundits debated how good the New York Rangers really were. Then, New York went into the playoffs and put together a very impressive run to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Since December 5th, the Rangers are 10-2-1 with a +19 goal differential. Eight of those 10 wins have come by two goals or more.
Across all strengths, the Rangers have controlled play to a very reasonable 51.30% expected goals share, and have turned that into 62.13% of the actual goals share due to clinical finishing and strong netminding.
The Rangers boast a powerplay unit which is extremely well constructed and is a massive strength. That unit could continue to trend upward moving forward.
Adam Fox is one of the best quarterbacks league wide, Mika Zibanejad features a deadly one-timer, Artemi Panarin is incredibly crafty at finding seams and can finish himself, and Chris Kreider is an elite net front option.
Shesterkin rested Sunday versus Florida, which does increase the chances New York will go with its top option in this matchup.
Shesterkin has played to a +11.3 goals saved above expected rating and a .917 save % through 29 appearances this season.
The Canadiens haven't had even moderately strong underlying results this season, but a combination of timely scoring and excellent goaltending had Montreal greatly overachieving early on.
However, since December 14th, Montreal is just 1-8-1, and the process with which it has earned that horrific mark has been even more concerning than the lack of wins.
Throughout those 10 games, Montreal has managed a goal differential of -29 with an actual goals share of just 29%. It owns the league's worst expected goals share at just 35.19%, and that mark is not even moderately surprising given all of the areas of concern displayed over the past several losses.
Montreal is skating an extremely young defensive core, with five rookie defenders in the lineup on most nights. Perhaps that flaw would be more effectively hidden on teams with a more capable group of two-way play driving forwards, but that is far from the Canadiens right now.
As the season has run along, it also seems possible Montreal's highly inexperienced coach, Martin St. Louis, has had somewhat of a hard time making adjustments in playing style. Although it is difficult to pin the failures of this roster on a coaching staff.
Rangers vs. Canadiens Pick
Montreal has lost seven of its past nine matchups by two goals or more, and that mark seems entirely sustainable moving forward based upon the team's weaknesses and the lack of talent on the roster.
There does not seem to be many legitimate arguments as to why Montreal can turn things around and sticking with the square idea of fading a team in horrific form seems to make lots of sense.
Montreal has managed the puck horribly of late, and looks entirely out of sync. The team's play in front of goal has been absolutely horrific, and the fact that a ton of pucks are ending up in the Canadiens net is far from surprising.
New York has not been entirely tilting the ice at five-on-five, but it remains a very opportunistic side which will likely finish with an elite powerplay this season. Over the past two years, New York has consistently done a very good job of finding ways to claim two points, and I feel confident it will continue to chip away at securing a playoff position in an incredibly crowded Eastern Conference with a win here.
It's possible this is viewed as a time for to rest Shesterkin, but that would be very livable seeing as the Canadiens are currently skating just one line with any kind of legitimate offensive punch.
At +120 we are being offered a very playable number to back the Rangers to cover the puck-line in this matchup, and I would back the Rangers to cover -1.5 down to a price of +105.
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