The 2021 NHL season is a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Canadian teams will solely play against each other in the newly formed North Division. That means a ton of interesting games to bet on, and Saturday night brings the Montreal Canadiens vs. Edmonton Oilers showdown at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
I’ve prepared the key tips and stats for this marquee matchup along with my best betting pick. The bookies expect to see a thrilling clash, so the Canadiens opened as slight -108 moneyline favorites on BetMGM Sportsbook.
Montreal started with a tough loss in Toronto
The Montreal Canadiens opened the new season on the wrong foot, blowing a two-goal lead at the Toronto Maple Leafs and suffering a 5-4 overtime loss. They recorded 18 hits more than the Maple Leafs, but the Canadiens also had 13 giveaways and surrendered a couple of power-play goals on four opportunities.
RW Josh Anderson netted twice for the Habs in the opener, while center Nick Suzuki and winger Tomas Tatar added a goal each. Tatar was Montreal’s leading scorer last regular season with 61 points (22 goals and 39 assists), while the Canadiens were 19th in the league in goals scored per game (2.93) and goals against (3.10).
Carey Price guarded the cage against the Maple Leafs and posted 29 saves on 34 shots. Last season, Price went 27-25-6 with a 2.79 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
Edmonton bounced back in another goal extravaganza
After a 5-3 home loss to the Vancouver Canucks on the opening night, the Edmonton Oilers picked up the pieces and thrashed off the Canucks 5-2 on the second day of their back-to-back set. They took a whopping 47 shots towards Vancouver’s goalie while posting 13 hits more than their rivals (37-24).
Connor McDavid had a big game on Thursday, scoring three goals on nine shots, while Leon Draisaitl notched four assists. This center duo combined for 207 points last regular season. The Oilers were 14th in the league in goals scored per game (3.14) and 15th in goals against (3.03).
Mikko Koskinen will be the first-choice goaltender in Mike Smith’s absence. The 32-year-old Finnish had 30 saves in the opener and 38 in that big win over Vancouver. He went 18-13-3 with a 2.75 GAA and .917 save percentage last regular season.Trends:
- 1-5 in the last six games against Montreal
- 1-4 in the last five games overall
- 5-1 in the last six home tilts against Montreal
- 6-1 in the last seven games played on Saturday
The Winner Prediction
Montreal and Edmonton face off against each other twice this past regular season, and the Oilers beat the Canadiens on both occasions, 4-3 as +105 home dogs and 4-2 as +110 road dogs. Edmonton has won 13 of its last 18 matchups with the Habs including five of the previous six, and I expect this trend to go on.
Both teams have some serious defensive issues, and I will lean on the Oilers’ tremendous duo. Draisaitl and McDavid should be key performers and help the Oilers top the Canadiens.
Pick: Take Edmonton at -102
As I’ve said, neither of these two teams can brag with a stout defense, though both count on some top-notch goaltenders. However, with all the offensive firepower on each roster, I’m backing the Oilers and Canadiens to combine for at least six goals.
The over is 7-3-1 in the last 11 meetings between these two interconference foes who’ll play in the same division this term. Five of their previous six encounters produced six or more goals in total. Pick: Go over 6.0 goals at -120