My personal NHL pick winning streak hit four with another winner in last night’s pick between the Oilers and Blue Jackets.
The Oilers entered that one having lost four of their last five with offense as the main culprit for the recent stretch, however their offense got back on track while their defense remained strong in a 4-1 road win as +130 underdogs. Mike Smith’s yeoman’s work on the road continues while the Jackets continue to struggle in preventing goals, having now surrendered 11 over their last two games.
The winner got us deeper into profit territory on the season as we wrap up the NHL season’s opening month with a pick featuring the Canadiens vs. Golden Knights from Sin City in Las Vegas!
Season Record: 10-7
Canadiens vs. Golden Knights Betting Odds:
Golden Knights (-210)
Over 6.0 (-115)
Under 6.0 (-105)
Canadiens vs. Golden Knights NHL Pick
After winning a 4-1 affair over the Arizona Coyotes last night, the Montreal Canadiens finish a tough back-to-back situation tonight in Vegas against a Golden Knights club that’s been off since their 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night on home ice.
The Habs road a 32-save performance from Carey Price to victory on Wednesday night while their offense stood tall for the second consecutive game after potting five goals on the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Entering tonight’s contest, that Montreal offense ranks fifth with 3.67 goals per game on the season while their much-maligned power play from a season ago that finished 30th with a measly 13.2% success rate last season is now tied for seventh with an even 25% clip this time around. Despite that power play, the Canadiens tied for 13th in offense last season on the back of ranking fifth with 188 goals at even strength. Their 54.12% Corsi For% at even strength last season ranked fourth. We wondered where their offense would be if that man advantage could come around and now we are starting to get our answer. The power play has been better – almost doubly so – but the Habs remain one of the NHL’s best 5v5 teams in the game with 31 goals in such situations this year, good for fifth once again. Their 52.5% Corsi For% at 5v5 play ranks sixth.
The Canadiens are a dead-smack middle-of-the-pack defense as they sit tied with the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks for 15th with an even three goals against per game this season. Carey Price has been solid in posting a 2.59 GAA and .914 Sv%, however the Habs will almost certainly turn to backup Keith Kinkaid to complete the back-to-back set tonight in Vegas.
This is where things could get dicey. Signed this summer to provide solidity behind Price, Kinkaid hasn’t been up to the task to this point in this season as he has posted an unsightly 4.53 GAA and .875 Sv% across a pair of starts on the season – both of which resulted in losses. In layman’s terms, he surrendered five goals in an overtime loss in Buffalo to start his season before allowing four goals in a loss to the lowly Minnesota Wild his last time out. Tonight should mark his first start since that October 20th affair against the Wild.
On the Vegas side of things, the Golden Knights are off to a fine start this season with an 8-5-0 record for 16 points through 13 games, good for third spot in an upside-down Pacific Division at this point, behind the Oilers and Canucks. They remain solid on the back end as they rank 12th with 2.77 goals against per game on the season while the offense is right in the middle of the pack at 15th with 3.08 goals per game.
Their play on home ice could stand to see some improvement, however, as the Knights are just 4-3-0 at T-Mobile Arena this season while their +0.14 goal differential at home leaves plenty to be desired. Their 3.14 goals against per game at home actually slips them into the bottom-10 of the league at 22nd while their home offense remains solid, yet unspectacular at 18th with 3.29 goals per game.
I would expect their home results to improve based on some advanced numbers. Their 55.18% Corsi For% at 5v5 play on home ice this season is the third-best mark in the NHL right now while their high-danger chances for percentage ranks second at 64.76%. In other words, in seven home games this season, the Golden Knights have managed 68 high-danger chances for and allowed just 37. That should lead to some improved results if those numbers can at least remain in the ball park of where they stand right now.
We don’t know for sure who will get the starting nod in the Vegas crease tonight, but given the long layoff between tonight and their last game on Sunday, I would expect Marc-Andre Fleury to add to his share of first place with 11 starts this season and make his 12th in this one tonight. Considering the Golden Knights don’t play a back-to-back tomorrow night, I’m almost certain this will be the case as they play just one game over their next four nights after this one tonight.
Fleury has been dynamite again this season for the Knights as he sports a 2.30 GAA and .928 Sv% with an 8-3-0 record entering this one tonight. However, he’s struggled at home to the tune of a 3.03 GAA and .905 Sv% compared to his 1.27 GAA and .960 Sv% on the road where he’s a perfect 4-0-0. All three of his losses have come at T-Mobile Arena this season.
Rather than laying big-time juice with the Knights or looking at the Habs at huge underdogs in their second game in 24 hours, I’m lookin at the total here, and I’m looking over. In this matchup, we have two of the top four teams in the league in terms of shots per game. The Golden Knights ranks second with 35.3 shots per game and the Canadiens rank fourth with 34.5. The Golden Knights rank third with 37.6 shots per game at home while the Habs check in at eighth with 33.2 shots per game on the road. Given the heavy shot volume he could face and his work so far this season, it’s an incredibly difficult assignment for Kinkaid tonight, especially with his team likely tired after playing last night against a well-rested Vegas team that pumped the Ducks on Sunday and put 45 shots on goal in the process.
You could possibly expect Fleury’s work at home to improve this season – and his work on the road will for sure regress – but the simple fact of the matter is that he hasn’t been good at home this season and the usually-stout Golden Knights haven’t been all that impressive defensively in front of him at home this season. As noted, Vegas is a bottom-10 home defense to this point and just outside the bottom 10 at 20th with 32.1 shots against per game on home ice.
The Golden Knights’ power play has been red-hot with a 29% clip over the last eight games while their penalty kill has faltered with a 76.9% mark over the last four. The Habs’ penalty kill has been bad of late despite a 3-for-3 night last night with a 69.2% mark over their last four.
I believe the Habs are vulnerable here and I believe they’ll be in tough to defend this Golden Knights team tonight. After scoring just five goals in a three-game stretch, the Golden Knights’ offense busted out with five goals their last time out. The Canadiens’ offense has tallied nine goals over their last two games and averaged 37 shots in that time. I believe they can generate some offense against a struggle home defense this evening. Give me the over six in this one tonight.