Penguins vs. Canadiens Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Struggling Teams Find Any Form? (November 18)

Penguins vs. Canadiens Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Struggling Teams Find Any Form? (November 18) article feature image
Credit:

Justin K. Aller/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby.

  • The line on Penguins-Canadiens has moved in favor of Pittsburgh, which opened at -150 and has since gone to -155.
  • The total has dropped, however, from an open line of 6 down to 5.5 at most books.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.

Penguins at Canadiens Odds

Penguins Odds -155
Canadiens Odds +135
Over/Under 6 (+105/-125)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds and Futures Odds here.

Skating with considerably differently rosters than we have seen in recent years, both the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins have gotten off to dreadful starts to the season, and will enter this contest on respective three-game losing streaks in desperate need of two points.

Pittsburgh may have more cause for optimism going forward given the return to the lineup of several key pieces, however that has yet to prove fruitful over tough losses to Washington, and at home to Buffalo. Will Pittsburgh manage to break through with a better effort again at close to full health here?

Penguins Getting Key Pieces Back, But Not Clicking Yet

A number of key pieces in Sidney Crosby, Brian Dumoulin and Marcus Pettersson are still settling in from COVID-19 absences, and the Pens did put together an effort which on many occasions may have produced a better result vs. Buffalo. But given the hole being dug in the Metropolitan Division, that may not offer much solace.

Mike Sullivan’s current roster certainly doesn’t offer the kind of high-end talent it used to, but it has a deep core of defensemen and plenty of smart, two-way forwards. The team has held the opposition to just 2.24 xGF/60 so far this season, and when healthy can play some sound defense.

Tristan Jarry should likely draw the start again here for Pittsburgh. Jarry has bounced back from a shaky season, posting a .917 save percentage and 0.4 goals saved above expected.

Canadiens Can’t Find Any Rhythm

Things have simply not clicked for Montreal in the follow up to their spectacular run to the Stanley Cup final last season. A number of key roster areas are markedly different, and the timely offensive scoring we saw on that run from a number of guys has quickly turned into next to no scoring at all.

Nick Suzuki is probably the sole forward who has consistently generated at a reasonable clip so far this season, and even still, the team’s number one center has been far from an offensive dynamo.

His support has been shaky at best, with a number of the club’s top wingers such as Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, and Joel Armia underachieving early this season, as well as Cole Caufield, who’s slow start landed him back in Laval with the AHL team.

Should this group be producing more? Probably, but the underlying numbers are not great. The team owns the league’s 24th xGF/60 rate at 2.24, and the 31st worst goals for per/game mark to go with it.

On top of that, the powerplay has struggled again this season, posting just a 13.8% success rate, good for 29th in the league.

As things continue to get tighter and tighter around a club which showed so much promise last season, the pressure continues to mount from one of hockey’s most passionate fanbases, and it certainly feels like the frustration is reaching a boiling point of late, as evidence in Brendan Gallagher’s outburst at the end of the Rangers defeat.

Goalie Cayden Primeau was very solid in the loss, stopping 31 of 34 to start the season.  I would imagine coach Dominique Ducharme goes back to Primeau after that outing, unless Jake Allen is set to return from concussion.

Canadiens vs. Penguins Pick

With both teams desperate to trend upwards and finally break through with a win, I think this spot lends itself to be a very tight, structured contest with neither team likely to come out and open things up too much or offer much in the way of cheap breakdowns, and I think this sets up similarly to what we saw last time out for the Pens against Buffalo in a game that finished 2-1.

Neither club has clicked offensively this season, and offensive production has been worse of late for each group, although eventually you would think Crosby’s addition will help the Pens.

Pittsburgh enters ranked 19th in goals per game, scoring an average of 2.0 in their last four games, as well as an xGF/60 of just 2.14.

Montreal sit with a 29th ranked GF/GP mark of 2.11 this season, and averaging just 2.4 goals for their last five, with an xGF/60 of 2.14.

On top of this, I thought the Canadiens did put forth very reasonable defensive efforts in their recent road losses to Boston and New York, and I could see them putting forth another competitive effort here, but that will probably less than likely lead to a high goal output, but more likely just a closer, low scoring contest.

I see some value on the under with some shops still having a total of 6 posted at a reasonable price, and I would back that number all the all the way to -145, although better numbers are still available.

Pick: Under 6, -125 (Play to -145)

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