Canadiens vs. Sharks NHL Pick – October 28, 2021

I notched a winner with my lone NHL pick of the night last night as the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars kept the total Under 5.5.

It turns out passing on the lack of value the Stars were offering was the right choice. I liked Dallas to win, but not at -164 moneyline odds. Those who took those odds are kicking themselves now as the Golden Knights tied the game at two with just 1:02 left in regulation time before going on to win the game in OT.

The 3-2 final fell Under the 5.5 total for us, however, as we pivot to a Canadiens vs. Sharks NHL Pick from San Jose!

Canadiens vs. Sharks Betting Odds

*Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Moneyline Puck Line Total
Canadiens +112 +1.5 (-210) Over 5.5 (-117)
Sharks -124 -1.5 (+180) Under 5.5 (+106)

Offense and Defense

Canadiens

Not much has gone right on either side of the puck for a Canadiens team that has mounted just one win in seven games on the heels of a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final a season ago.

The Habs have struggled mightily at the offensive end of the ice, notching just 1.57 goals per game on the season, otherwise known as the worst mark in the league in the early going. It also appears they deserve that fate as they also sit 29th in terms of high-danger scoring chances/60 at 5v5 and 29th again in expected goals for/60 in 5v5 situations. Their 1.45 goals/60 at 5v5 remains below their 1.84 expected mark, however.

For a team that’s posted elite underlying metrics over the last couple of seasons, there’s certainly been a turn in the wrong direction on that front.

The defensive numbers aren’t quite as bad, but nothing to write home about, either.

The team ranks 27th with 3.57 goals against per game, but the analytics suggest some poor fortune on that front as they sit 18th in high-danger chances against/60 and actually tied for eighth in terms of expected goals against/60 at 5v5. Their 2.55 goals against/60 at 5v5 so far is much worse than their 1.98 expected mark, so positive regression should be had on the defensive front moving forward.

Sharks

The Sharks got off to a rather shocking 4-0-0 star to their season, but have since dropped two in a row and one has to seriously wonder if they can sustain their early-season offensive pace.

On the surface, their 3.33 goals per game are tied with the Wild for 10th in the league. That said, the Sharks are also well below that figure in the underlying metrics department as they sit 19th in terms of high-danger chances for/60 and also 30th in expected goals for/60 at 5v5. Their 2.67 goals/60 at 5v5 is seriously out-pacing their 1.74 expected mark.

After averaging four goals per game with 16 goals in their first four games of the season, the regression has kicked in as they’ve tallied just four goals over their last two games while generating just 55 shots on goal in that time.

As for the defense, the surface data and underlying data are much more aligned than the offensive figures. The Sharks rank fifth with 2.33 goals against per game on the season, but also eighth in high-danger chances against/60 and 12th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 as well.

Now, I almost always follow the numbers, but is this sustainable? I mean, this Sharks back end has put forth some of the very worst surface and underlying numbers in the NHL over the last few seasons. It’s essentially the same blueline this season than last, and last year’s group was bottom-five in most analytical and surface areas.

The numbers are sharp, but my gut tells me regression is coming moving forward.

Goaltending Notes

Canadiens

As Carey Price remains away from the team, the No. 1 job has been Jake Allen’s. While Allen gets the nod for this one tonight, he hasn’t exactly taken the starter’s role and run with it so far in the young season.

Allen will enter this one sporting a 3.04 GAA and .890 Sv% on the season, going 1-5-0 in the process. He’s started six of the seven games for the Habs so far, but goaltending has been the difference between their poor results vs. the solid underlying metrics.

Allen turned in a decent 2.68 GAA and .907 Sv% across 29 appearances in relief of Price last year, but he’s had just one above-average season (2019-20) across the last five, so the Habs’ goaltending situation hasn’t been in great hands in the early stages of the season.

Sharks

After the Sharks have received some of the NHL’s worst goaltending (behind a poor blueline) in recent years, the club has managed to get improved results with a new tandem in town this time around.

Adin Hill was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes this summer, and while veteran James Reimer was added in free agency, it’s been Hill making four of the first six starts as he makes his fifth tonight.

Hill has been the worst of the two so far, however, as he’s posted a 2.92 GAA and .890 Sv% on the season while surrendering -1.8 goals saved above average (GSAA), as per Hockey Reference. He’s managed to go 3-1-0 on the season, but was shelled for four goals on just 14 shots (.714 Sv%) his last time out in Boston, a stat line that’s skewed his early-season overall numbers.

Still, he’ll be in search of a bounce-back effort in this one tonight.

Special Teams

Canadiens

The Canadiens special teams have been absolutely horrendous in the early going this season on both sides of the puck.

The power play has been dismal at just 8% on the season, by far the worst number in the league. It’s a little hard to figure out why it’s been that bad as there’s seemingly enough talent on both units to score some goals and the team clicked at a decent, 17th-ranked 19.2% last season, but perhaps the absence of Shea Weber, his booming shot and the respect it’s given is leading to inferior results.

The penalty kill hasn’t helped any cause, either. The Habs enter this one ranked 29th with a 64% clip on the kill this season, ahead of only the Coyotes, Jets and Kings. For what it’s worth, the Coyotes’ 35.7% mark in six games is downright hilarious.

The kill wasn’t a strong suit for Montreal last season either as their 78.5% mark tied for 23rd league wide, but one sliver of good news is that they went a clean 4 for 4 in this area despite dropping a 5-1 decision in Seattle their last time out on Tuesday. That marks the first time this season the Canadiens have not surrendered a power-play goal.

Sharks

Boosting their overall offensive numbers this season for the Sharks as been a vastly improved man advantage.

The Sharks have hummed at a 25% power-play clip through six games, a welcomed sight considering their finished last season 29th with a measly 14.1% clip. While special teams can vary from season to season, it’s certainly interesting to see this group so hot early.

That said, it was white-hot very early. The Sharks went 5 for 12 (41.67%) in their first three games of the season, but have since gone cold in going 0 for 8 over their last three games. If I were a guessing man, I’d say the Sharks’ power play continues to decline moving forward.

The penalty kill could be a different story. The Sharks own an excellent 85.7% mark in that department this season, and they also sat 14th last season and actually first in the NHL with an identical 85.7% mark in the 2019-20 season. Since the beginning of that 2019-20 campaign, the Sharks rank fifth with an 83.4% mark on the PK.

As a result. don’t be surprised if this team kills penalties at an above-average rate given the recent history as their defensive woes have come at even-strength to be sure.

Betting Trends

Canadiens

Canadiens are 0-5 in their last five games as an underdog
Canadiens are 0-6 in their last six vs. the Western Conference
Under is 4-1-1 in the Canadiens’ last five vs. Western Conference
Under is 3-1-1 in the Canadiens’ last five road games

Sharks

Sharks are 6-2 in their last eight vs. the Eastern Conference
Sharks are 1-4 in their last five games as a favorite
Over is 11-5-1 in the Sharks’ last 17 games overall
Over is 12-3-2 in the Sharks’ last 17 home games

Head to Head

Sharks are 12-0 in the last 12 meetings in San Jose
Sharks are 19-4 in the last 23 meetings overall
Road team is 4-1 in the last five meetings
Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings

Canadiens vs. Sharks NHL Pick

First, I’m throwing out head-to-head trends between teams that meet just twice a year and zero times last season given the league’s pandemic-driven realignment.

The Habs have shown just about nothing this season as they’ve been flat as a pancake in just about every department. However, sign me up for a road upset tonight.

First, the defense hasn’t been nearly as bad as it would appear as goaltending has been the problem. That obviously don’t mean Jake Allen is sure to bounce back tonight, but there should absolutely be positive defensive regression moving forward.

I also expect the Sharks to continue to regress offensively. Keep in mind they just returned home from a lengthy, five-game road trip. This could be a letdown spot for a team that sputtered in the final two games of that trip while going 0 for 5 on the power play and just 3 for 5 on the penalty kill.

The Habs aren’t going to average 1.57 goals per game much longer, and I see a spot here where they can catch San Jose napping and come out of the gate hard en route to a road upset.

The Bet
CANADIENS
+112
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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