Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#31 Montreal Canadiens vs.
#32 Vegas Golden Knights
Monday, June 14, 2021 at 9:00pm EDT
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Written by Valdis Pans

Having qualified for the Third Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in four years, the Vegas Golden Knights (No. 2 seed in West Division) will take on the Montreal Canadiens (No. 4 seed in North Division) in Game 1 of their Semifinal matchup.

Habs Dazzle As Underdogs

The Montreal Canadiens (8-3) have reached the Third Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2014 after entering the current postseason with the fewest wins (24) and points (59), and the worst goal differential (minus-9) out of all 16 teams participating in this year’s playoffs. Currently riding a seven-game winning streak, the Habs overcame the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven outings during the First Round, dramatically recovering from a 3-1 deficit with three consecutive victories throughout Games 5-7, before sweeping the Winnipeg Jets in four fixtures in the following round. Four different Montreal players have banked a team-high four snipes during the ongoing postseason, with Tyler Toffoli leading the squad with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists).

Goalie Carey Price has started all 11 games of the Canadiens during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 8-3 with a 1.97 GAA and a .935 save percentage. He has recorded a 38-39 career total in 81 previous postseason appearances with a 2.36 GAA and a .920 save percentage and is 2-1-0 against the Vegas Golden Knights in past encounters with a 3.40 GAA and a .886 save percentage. The Canadiens, meanwhile, are netting the 6th lowest quantity of strikes per game during the current playoffs (2.55), while conceding the 2nd lowest amount on the defensive end (2.18). The team is 8th in power play with an 18.8% success rate (6-for-32) and top of the league in penalty kill with 90.3% efficiency (28-for-31).

Knights Make Third Round Again

After ending the regular season with the highest amount of wins (40) and the best goal differential (plus-67), tying the Presidents’ Trophy winners Colorado Avalanche for most points (82), the Vegas Golden Knights (8-5) have punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Semifinals for the third time in their four-year existence. The team beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in seven games during the opening round before eliminating the Avalanche in the Second Round, recovering from a 2-0 deficit with four victories on the trot. Jonathan Marchessault (8 points) leads Vegas with six goals this postseason, while William Karlsson has collected the most points (11; 4 goals, 7 assists).

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has started 12 of Golden Knights’ 13 games during the current playoffs, having registered an 8-4 total with a 1.91 GAA and a .923 save percentage. He has picked up an 89-67 career postseason record with a 2.53 GAA and a .912 save percentage, and has gone 22-13-6 against the Montreal Canadiens historically with a 3.12 GAA and a .897 save percentage. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, are scoring the 4th highest number of goals per game during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs (3.08), while giving up the 4th lowest amount defensively (2.38). The team is 3rd from the bottom in power play (14.3%; 4-for-28) and 12th in penalty kill (71.4%; 20-for-28).

Best Bets for this Game

All predictions are made well in advance of game time. Don't bet this pick before calling the free Winners And Whiners update line to make sure the pick is still good (recorded message): 1-213-205-3114

Full-Game Side Bet

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With this being a complete mismatch on paper, with a win for Vegas trading at -270, you either have to go with the Canadiens here (+220), or back one of the sides on the puck line! The Habs have done well in their past three trips to Sin City (2-1-0), but will be facing a determined Golden Knights team that is currently riding a four-game winning run on its own ice. A big victory for the hosts here is also unlikely. Montreal has been dead efficient defensively during the ongoing postseason and has only been outmuscled by more than one goal on two of the past 14 overall occasions, stretching back to the last three contests of the regular campaign. The fact that Vegas has only managed to beat the Canadiens once in their previous six overall encounters, losing the very last four in succession (0-1-3), also doesn’t favor the Knights, who have won by a margin of at least two strikes in just two of their most recent six fixtures.

Prediction: Montreal Canadiens +1.5 (-120)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Only one of six previous meetings between Vegas and Montreal has been decided within the limits of just five snipes. Their very first head-to-head matchup in November 2017 ended with a 3-2 victory for the Habs, with all five subsequent fixtures between the pair recording at least seven markers on the scoresheet, averaging no less than 8.40 tallies per clash. Do go with the Under in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Semifinal, though! When considered underdogs, the Canadiens have already kept things on the low-scoring side on five of the past seven occasions. Five of the most recent six contests of the Golden Knights, with the team having scored at least five strikes in its previous game, meanwhile, have all finished with just a modest quantity of goals.

Prediction: Under 5.5
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Written By Valdis Pans , "Valdis Pans"

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