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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canadiens vs. Oilers (March 5)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canadiens vs. Oilers (March 5) article feature image
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David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cole Caufield

Canadiens vs. Oilers Odds

Canadiens Odds +205
Oilers Odds -250
Over/Under 6.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Out of nowhere, the Montreal Canadiens have won six of their past seven. It’s too late for the Habs to rally for a postseason push, but they can embrace the role of spoilers as we head into the stretch drive of the NHL season.

Better teams than the Edmonton Oilers have fallen to the Canadiens during their recent hot streak. Goaltending decisions are keeping me away from betting either side, but I’m taking a stance on the total.

Canadiens Offense Red-Hot

The Habs’ offense is thriving right now. Montreal has scored four or more goals in four of its past five and has the metrics to back up sustained output. The Canadiens have attempted 12 or more high-danger chances at five-on-five in three of their past five and 10 or more across all strengths in all five. Scoring chances have flowed abundantly, with Montreal eclipsing 30 across all strengths in three straight.

Moreover, the Canadiens remain below expected values this year, implying that further positive regression is expected. The Habs have recorded just 91 goals at five-on-five this season, below their expected total of 100.5. Similarly, they have the worst shooting percentage in the league, despite ranking 20th in high-danger chances, 25th in scoring chances, and 23rd in shots. More puck luck should befall the Habs in their coming games.

However, that anticipated offensive growth could be wasted on Sam Montembeault, who has struggled in the crease and is the confirmed starter for tomorrow.

Montembeault has an 89.6% save percentage this season with -9.7 goals saved above average. After a brief three-game streak in which he stopped 95.7% of shots, we’re expecting more outings like his most recent start against the Jets, in which he allowed seven goals on 23 shots.


Oilers Due for Positive Regression, Too

The last thing you want to give the Oilers is an advantage in net for them to exploit. Edmonton’s offense has improved under Jay Woodcroft, and the results are starting to show on the ice. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the rest of the Oilers offense is finding its rhythm, and like the Habs, they remain below their expected output.

Through 55 games, the Oilers have an expected goals-for total of 114.5, ranking ninth in the league. Still, their actual goals scored is below that, coming in at 112. The Oilers have a 7.9% shooting percentage at five-on-five this season, which has fallen to 6.4% over their past six games. Edmonton has above-average production metrics but below-average output and should continue to have success scoring as output balances with production.

All the offense in the world couldn’t protect the Oilers from ineffective defensive zone coverage, which remains an issue under their new head coach. Opponents are averaging 13.2 high-danger chances per game across all strengths over their past five outings, with all five teams attempting at least 10. That should allow the Habs to continue their recent offensive surge.

Canadiens vs. Oilers Pick

The Habs have gone over in three of their past five while the Oilers are 6-2-1 to the over since Feb. 15.

Considering these teams underlying metrics and recent trends, I’m betting that the high scoring trend carries over on Saturday.

Pick: Over 6.5 -115

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