Canadiens vs. Penguins Betting Preview
The opening portion of the restart to the NHL season will see the No. 5 seed Pittsburgh Penguins take on the No. 12 seed Montreal Canadiens in a best-of-five qualifying round series that will advance the winner to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Penguins are still legitimate championship contenders, while Montreal is the final team to make it to the qualification round. The Penguins vs. Canadiens odds entering the series have Pittsburgh as the big favorite.
You can compare Penguins vs. Canadiens odds across various sportsbooks, as well as other games from around the NHL, by using our odds comparison tool. With many legal sportsbooks available across the country, it can pay to shop around for the best price in your region. If you do not already line shop for the best Penguins vs. Canadiens lines, the odds comparison tool can help you do just that.
Keep an Eye On Crosby’s Health
The biggest storyline in this series is the health of Pittsburgh captain and all-world forward Sidney Crosby. Crosby missed 28 games from November to January because of core muscle surgery. He missed five of six on-ice sessions in camp after leaving a scrimmage on July 18. Crosby has skated without restrictions over recent days and right now is expected to play in the series. There are no other notable injuries headed into the best-of-five set.
Crosby was on pace to score more than 30 goals in a normal 82-game season before the injury. Teammates Brian Rust, Evgeni Malkin, and Jack Guentzel all eclipsed the 20-goal mark. One of the reasons bettors and sportsbooks are favoring the Penguins is because of the team’s ability to put the puck in the back of the net.
The Canadiens enter play as the last team selected to participate in the qualification round. They also come into play with no notable injuries.
Montreal had just two 20-goal scorers during the regular season in Thomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher. During the regular season, the Canadiens were 19th in points scored per game (2.93) and 20th in goals against per game (3.10).
In the regular season, the Penguins were 10th in goals scored per game at 3.20 and tied for 12th in goals against per game at 2.84. Pittsburgh’s power play was middling, as they finished 16th at 19.9 percent. Despite where the power play ranked, it’s hard to imagine any team would want to play a man down against Crosby, Malkin, Guentzel, and others.
Solid Goaltending On Both Sides
Goaltending becomes increasingly important in the NHL qualifying round and postseason. For the Canadiens, netminder Carey Price gives the Habs their biggest edge in the series. Price is considered one of the best goalies in the game, but the lack of talent on offense and defense have pushed Montreal’s betting odds up as huge underdogs.
Montreal’s Price could suppress Pittsburgh’s scoring in the series. Looking at Penguins vs. Canadiens props, Montreal winning a game without conceding a goal could be a popular bet at its current odds.
The Penguins have a counter in their own net, with two-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray, along with backup Tristan Jarry. Pittsburgh was atop the leaderboard in many statistical categories for goaltending during a large portion of the regular season.
The Penguins won two of the three head-to-head matchups during the regular season.