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Winnipeg Looks to Edge Montreal in Close One

Habs Travel to Face Jets in Monday NHL Action

Montreal and Winnipeg meet for the fifth time this Monday with Winnipeg having won three of the four meetings although two of those came via extra time. Despite the results, Winnipeg is once again an underdog per sportsbook odds.

I understand the online betting odds. Montreal and Winnipeg are on two spectrums here. The Canadiens should have a better record and Winnipeg shouldn’t. Head to head, this is a competitive affair. But I know better than to bet against the Jets, and I’ll take them here.

Tucker Poolman challenges Jonathan Drouin Winnipeg Montreal
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP

Canadiens vs Jets Betting Preview

Third Period Canadiens’ Blues

Coaching changes couldn’t shake the Habs out of their funk. Montreal is 3-3-3 with Dominique Ducharme calling the shots although on the bright side, Carey Price is finally playing like his all-star self.

Price is averaging a stellar 95.2 save percent in his last five with a 3-1-1 record. His 89.7 scoring chance save percent (SCSV%) is his best career-best and indicates he’s still an elite netminder. He, like the team, just needs to limit the “bad breaks”.

They’re one of the better teams in 5-on-5 play usually outshooting their opponents including Toronto and Winnipeg, the division’s most prolific teams. Jake Allen, Price’s counterpart, has secretly had a great season and they’ve combined for a 93.5 even strength save percent, the best mark in the division.

So what’s eating Montreal? Clutch. Montreal have outscored opponents 61 to 40 in the first two periods but are outscored 27 to 25 in the third and four to zero in overtime. They’re also only 1-2-6 when heading to the third tied and 1-6-0 when trailing. They’ll need to find a way to generate goals, or prevent them, when it matters.

The Golden Jets

The Jets are on an unbelievable run. Bet against them at your own risk as Winnipeg leads the NHL with a 22-5 puck line record. They have cashed as an underdog 12 out of 21 times including six out of their last nine.

What makes Winnipeg so great is what makes Montreal so impoverished lately: clutch goal scoring. The Jets can score in bunches and they usually do it when it matters. Winnipeg is 5-2-0 when tied heading to the third. They’re 4-6-0 when behind.

The Jets have outscored opponents 32 to 21 in the third period and five to one in over time. LW Nikolaj Ehlers is having a breakout season with 14 goals to lead the team. Winnipeg has three players on pace for over 30 goals in a full season and six on pace for over 20.

And on the other end, defending Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit make up for the Jets’ propensity for giving up scoring chances. The tandem has combined for +6.0 goals saved above average and a 92.6 even strength SV%. The only question is how long Winnipeg can sustain this. Check out the live betting options for this contest.

Betting Pick

Montreal should be the better team than Winnipeg, but I’m backing the Jets with the current NHL betting odds. I trust Winnipeg to score more when it matters. Their 1.2 goals in the third is one of the best in the league while Montreal’s 0.9 is one of the worst.

And it’s not for lack of trying. Montreal averages over ten shots per period. They generally play well but either run into a hot goalie or give up an unfortunate goal. They have generally outshot Winnipeg but have had trouble beating their goaltenders before the blowout.

I feel this game will be more like the first three games: with Montreal outshooting Winnipeg again and constantly pressuring, but with the Jets scoring right back. It’s a bit of a toss up. But with the plus money, take Winnipeg.

Pick: Winnipeg Jets to win

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