Jets vs. Canadiens Odds
|Time||Monday, 8:00 p.m. ET|
|TV||NHL Network, NBCSN|
|Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings|
About a week ago at this time, the Winnipeg Jets were sitting and patiently waiting for their opponent after sweeping the Edmonton Oilers in the first round. The Montreal Canadiens were in major trouble, down 3-1 in a series to the powerhouse Toronto Maple Leafs.
Fast forward to now, and the Jets are on the road facing elimination in Game 4 against the Canadiens in round two of the playoffs. Winnipeg entered the series as favorites to advance, but at this point it looks quite obvious the oddsmakers got that one wrong.
Montreal has been utterly dominant, while Winnipeg is without their first-line center in Mark Scheifele. Carey Price is winning the goaltending matchup against Connor Hellebuyck.
At this point, it seems like a matter of “when” and not “if” in terms of Montreal punching their ticket to the NHL’s version of the Final Four. Will they do it on Monday night?
What We’ve Learned So Far
Entering the series, this was the quintessential example of “eye test” against analytics. Our own Matt Russell outlined it perfectly in his piece from a few days ago.
To summarize, Winnipeg has flustered hockey bettors for years. The Jets have had a decent amount of success despite poor underlying metrics. On the other hand, Montreal has disappointed its backers. The Canadiens were often near the top of the circuit in most analytical categories, but their results were far from elite.
So far in this series, the analytics have won out.
It’s no surprise that Montreal has been dominant in this series in most key underlying metrics. Through three games, Montreal has a 7.32-4.59 advantage in terms of expected goals at 5-on-5. Montreal has nearly doubled the Jets in terms of high-danger chances at 31-17.
One of the main reasons these teams’ actual results have differed so much from their underlying metrics over the past few seasons has been goaltending. Hellebuyck has been one of the league’s best goaltenders for Winnipeg, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2020 and leading the league in goals saved above expectation (GSAx) in ‘21. On the other hand, Price has posted a -10.9 GSAx over the past two regular seasons.
However, in these playoffs, Price has reverted back to his form from a few seasons ago when he was universally considered a top netminder in the league. He posted a shutout in Game 2 in a 1-0 win. He has a +2.6 GSAx in this series and a +9.1 GSAx in these playoffs. Hellebuyck, though, has been rather pedestrian in this series, giving up nine goals in three games while getting almost no goal support.
The Jets have just four goals in the first three games of this series. They have just one goal in the last two contests. Not surprisingly, those two games are the two games Scheifele has missed due to suspension thus far.
Scheifele usually serves as Winnipeg’s top-line center and is a key part of Winnipeg’s elite top six. However, with Scheifele serving a four-game suspension, Paul Stastny banged up and Pierre-Luc Dubois being a non-factor, Winnipeg’s usually dangerous offense appears quite toothless.
The same can’t be said about the Canadiens. They’ve gotten contributions from up and down their forward lines. Veterans like Eric Staal and Corey Perry have had a mini-resurgence as they’ve made significant impacts in these playoffs. Phillip Danault and his line have done a tremendous job defensively against the opponents’ top players.
Even more encouraging for Montreal fans has been the play of their young players. Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Jesperi Kotkaniemi all appear as if the bright lights of the playoffs have had no impact on them.
Jets vs. Canadiens Best Bet
This series has been bordering on non-competitive. Sure, the first two games ended up having tight final scores, but the actual play on the ice was heavily tilted. Montreal has posted an expected goal rate of at least 60% in all three games so far. Based on what we knew about these teams entering this series, that’s not all too surprising.
However, the Jets usually defy the analytics for two main reasons: goaltending and elite offensive talent. Hellebuyck has been pedestrian for Winnipeg between the pipes and average is not nearly good enough for the Jets as they bleed high danger chances against. The loss of Dylan DeMelo on Winnipeg’s blueline certainly doesn’t help matters. With Hellebuyck, he can steal a game on any given night, but he hasn’t done that yet in this series.
In terms of Winnipeg’s top guys, there’s obvious issues. Without Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler are playing without their usual pivot. Stastny missed the first two games of this series and is obviously playing through some kind of injury. Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers have made almost no impact on this series. In fact, Winnipeg’s most noticeable forwards in the first three games have probably been Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry. That’s not a good thing.
The lack of fans in this series compared to the three series occurring in the United States probably accentuates the lack of energy, but it sure does appear like Winnipeg is lifeless in this series. They’re generating very little and have been outplayed thoroughly. I think the Habs close out Winnipeg in front of the 2,500 or so fans at Bell Centre. However, I’m not a fan of laying nearly -150 in juice in this spot.
With how this series has unfolded, I’d bank on Montreal getting the job done in regulation for a plus-money payout.
Pick: Montreal to win in regulation +115