NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 6/16/21

Carey Price posted his worst save percentage of the postseason in Game 1 against the Knights. Can he rebound in Game 2?

Game 2 between the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens goes tonight in Vegas. The Knights walked away victorious in Game 1, after a seemingly convincing 4-1 victory. That said, the advanced metrics support that the Habs were the better team. What do our projections say about how you should approach Game 2?

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Vegas Golden Knights vs. Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens +1.5 (-122) 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Canadiens moneyline (+240): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Canadiens have relied on defensive efforts to help them win games this postseason and that was evident once again in Game 1. Montreal limited the Golden Knights to 19 scoring chances, 10 high-danger opportunities, and 24 shots at five-on-five. This was the sixth straight game in which the Habs limited their opponent to 10 or fewer high-danger chances at five-on-five. The last time an opponent attempted more than 10 was in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the first round. Expect the defensive excellence to continue tonight.

That defensive effort helped the Habs to a 50.5% expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five. The more impressive metric is that they posted an expected goals-for percentage of 51.5% across all strengths, despite getting out-chanced in powerplay opportunities 4-3. That illustrates that not only were the Habs able to limit a dangerous Knights' powerplay, but they were also able to create chances against the Knights' penalty kill as the visitors.

Game 1 also perpetuated some concerning metrics for the Knights. It was the third straight game in which they were outplayed across all strengths and their fifth straight victory. They have compiled a 1.076 PDO over that span, bringing their postseason average up to 1.011 and putting them at risk of regression. Simply, the Knights can't continue to get outplayed and win games.

Based on our projections, there's an implied advantage in backing the Habs tonight. There's value in backing Montreal on the moneyline, which is a one-star play, but the biggest advantage comes in taking them on the puckline, rated as a two-star play. If they can't win, the Habs should at least be able to keep it close.