NHL picks: 4 best bets for Canadiens vs Canucks
Our NHL expert has picked out his four best bets as the Montreal Canadiens visit the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
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Montreal Canadiens to win
In back-to-back series between two teams, it’s not very common for one team to sweep. After the Canucks’ shootout victory against the Canadiens on Wednesday, odds are that Montreal will be fired up to get the two points on Thursday.
The Canadiens are by far the stronger team at this early point in the season, with a 59.3 per cent expected goals ratio at 5-vs-5 compared to the Canucks’ 45.3 per cent.
A big reason why they lost the first game was a lopsided penalty situation, with the Canucks enjoying six powerplays to the Canadiens’ one. It’s unlikely that happens again.
Elias Pettersson to score a goal
The Canucks’ most talented forward has been held scoreless through five games this season, notching only one assist. Through two seasons of his career, Pettersson has averaged more than 30 goals and 70 points per 82 games, and he’s already ripped 13 shots on goal.
With a career average shooting percentage over 17 per cent, Pettersson is going to score sooner than later. He’s the only Canuck with an individual expected goal total over one this season to not score yet.
Jonathan Drouin to score 1+ points
The Canadiens have been playing well on a team level and scoring by committee, but Drouin hasn't had a big game yet despite contributing positively at both ends of the ice. Most of the attention has been on Nick Suzuki on that line, for good reason.
Drouin, though, has the strongest expected goals ratio on the roster at 5-vs-5, and the flashy forward is due for a statement game.
The second half of a back-to-back against a team that isn’t particularly physical or defensively sound is his time to shine.
Under 8.5 two-minute penalties
After a penalty-filled affair in the last game - especially one so lopsided towards one team - you can bet that the Canadiens coaching staff have made a complaint.
Officiating the NHL is reactionary, so the large part of this game will probably be played at even strength.
#BETYOURWAY BOOST: Canadiens to win, Pettersson to score, Drouin to score 1+ points, under 8.5 two-minute penalties
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