Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) warms up before Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche, Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
- The Vegas Golden Knights have opened as heavy favorites ahead of their semifinal matchup with the Cinderella Montreal Canadiens
- Vegas overcame a 0-2 series deficit to knock off Colorado Avalanche, while Montreal rides a seven-game win streak that lifted them to upset series wins over Toronto and Winnipeg
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Game 1 of this series on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena
The Montreal Canadiens aim to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993 when they open their semifinal clash with the Vegas as distant +315 underdogs in the Golden Knights vs Canadiens series odds. The Canadiens have emerged as the Cinderella story of the postseason while posting stunning series wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets.
Now riding a seven-game win streak during which they have never trailed, the Canadiens can expect to face their toughest challenge of the playoffs when they hit the ice for Game 1 at 9:00 PM EST on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena. After surviving an epic West Division battle with the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas has opened as a massive -400 favorite to end the Habs’ unlikely playoff run. However, the Golden Knights must overcome a track record of futility against Montreal if they are to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in their brief four-year history.
Golden Knights vs Canadiens Series Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
|Vegas Golden Knights||-400|
Odds as of June 11
Price, Young Guns Difference Makers
It has been a tale of two seasons in Montreal. After backing into a playoff spot while closing out the regular season with five straight losses, little was expected from the Canadiens in the postseason. And they remained true to that expectation while spotting Toronto a 3-1 series lead. But with netminder Carey Price flashing vintage form, and youngsters Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield thriving in increased roles, the Canadiens have made a dramatic turnaround.
#GoHabsGo Carey Price: Last 7 games
Save %: .943
Shutouts: 1 pic.twitter.com/We8ND4Haul
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) June 8, 2021
Price has allowed just 12 total goals during the Canadiens’ current seven-game win streak and has emerged as an intriguing +1000 bet to claim Conn Smythe Trophy honors as playoff MVP. Playing alongside veteran Tyler Toffoli, who padded his team-leading stats with a pair of game winners against Winnipeg, Suzuki and Caufield combined for seven points during the Habs’ sweep of the Jets. The Canadiens are listed at +900 in the Stanley Cup odds.
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The Canadiens’ commitment to relentless defensive play has also played a huge role. After effectively shutting down Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in the first round, the Canadiens provided a shorthanded Jets squad with little breathing room during the second round while seizing scoring opportunities.
Canadiens Hold Historical Edge
The question now is whether that strategy will be as effective against the high-powered Golden Knights. History is on Montreal’s side. The Canadiens have earned the win in five of six all-time meetings with Vegas, including a trio of victories on home ice at Bell Centre. However, the Habs have been far from dominant during that stretch, with each of their wins coming by a single goal in high-scoring affairs.
The Avalanche had a Hart finalist, Norris finalist and Vezina finalist, and the Golden Knights beat them four times in a row to advance
— Justin Emerson (@J15Emerson) June 11, 2021
Not a team with a reputation for filling the net, the Canadiens are at a marked disadvantage against the offensively-minded Golden Knights, who ranked third in goals scored per game during the regular season while leading the NHL in team goals against average. That trend has carried over into the postseason. Vegas has allowed more than three goals just twice in 13 playoff games, and shut down Colorado’s league-leading offense, giving up just eight total goals while overcoming a 0-2 series deficit with four straight wins. The Golden Knights have been rewarded at the sportsbooks, where they are now perched as one of the top favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
Pacioretty, Fleury Relish Opportunity for Vengeance
Two of Vegas’ biggest stars also enter this series with axes to grind. Former Habs captain Max Pacioretty looks to avenge his unceremonious departure from Montreal three years ago after playing a vital role in the Golden Knights’ ouster of the Avs. Pacioretty recorded a point per game in that series, including a pair of game winning goals. A native of Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, Vegas netminder Marc-Andre Fleury will be aiming to redeem himself for his shaky performance in his only previous playoff appearance against the Canadiens a decade ago.
Max Pacioretty – Playoffs
With the Montreal Canadiens
19:29 average ice time
7.0 shooting %
With the Vegas Golden Knights
17:43 average ice time
12.4 shooting % pic.twitter.com/7RycmBuzV0
— Complete Hockey News (@CompleteHkyNews) June 11, 2021
Barring the unforeseen loss of a star player, the type of which cost both the Maple Leafs and Jets so dearly during these playoffs, it is tough seeing the Golden Knights faltering. Indeed, it is likely the Canadiens that will need to find ways to generate offense against a Vegas squad that has clearly found its groove at both ends of the ice.
The Picks: Golden Knights to win series (-400); Vegas in 5 (+275)
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Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.