One Win to Go: Montreal Aims for Stanley Cup Finals Spot Tonight in Game 6
Trinquons à la santé le Club de hockey Canadien!
The Montreal Canadiens are just one victory away from a Cinderella season and a ticket to the big dance.
With a win tonight at home over the favoured Las Vegas Golden Knights, the Canadiens would nearly complete the least likely of a trifecta of scenarios:
-- coming back from a 3-1 game deficit in Round 1 versus the top seeded Toronto Maple Leafs and winning three straight,
-- sweeping their favoured opponent the Winnipeg Jets 4 games to none in Round 2,
-- and (possibly) upsetting one of the NHL's top teams, the Las Vegas Golden Knights in Round 3, which is the semi-finals.
Game 6 starts at 8 pm EST on Thursday night.
Apparently, oddsmakers and the betting public never learn their lesson. And that's great for Montreal bettors, who have been laughing all the way to the bank for the last month as the Canadiens have defied the numbers. Each of their wins has been as underdogs.
Once again, the Golden Knights are favoured (-145!) on foreign ice. Despite the fact Montreal is 11-5 in these playoffs (Las Vegas is 10-8), betting markets continue to be stubborn. Just look at the odds for the Canadiens to win in regulation – +210!
Here's the latest odds as of Thursday morning at SPREADS.CA:
So, Montreal is up 3-2 in this best-of-seven series. They have to feel confident after the stunning way they defeated the Golden Knights two nights ago – 4-1 in Game 5.
Let's be clear: The last thing the Canadiens want is a Game 7 played back in Las Vegas. So, look for the Habs to focus everything on getting the win here in Game 6 on their home ice at Centre Bell.
Two major factors have contributed to the Habs' success through five games. First, goaltender Price has been playing the best hockey of his life when it matters the most. Second, the Golden Knights' forwards have basically taken the series off and gone into hibernation. Montreal's ability to frustrate Las Vegas in their defensive zone should continue to be the difference.
Indeed, Las Vegas has been unable to come up with an answer against Montreal’s tough defense in four straight games. The Canadiens know if they can score three goals against the Golden Knights, they'll be in great shape. Price is now a perfect 19-0 when his team scores at least three goals in the playoffs. However, Montreal might not need three goals to get the win.
There's also an intangible quality to the Canadiens playing in multiple playoff series as heavy underdogs when no one, even their loyal fans, had many expectations. Contrast this with a win-now-at-all-cost attitude in Las Vegas, somewhat justified given their record over four seasons and the success during the 2021 regular seeason. In other words, all the pressure has been on the Golden Knights, and the more relaxed attitude has clearly favoured the heavy dogs.
We expect Montreal to take care of business at home in Game 6. The Golden Knights getting hammered at home in such shocking fashion has to be demoralizing. Their confidence shaken, possibly beyond repair at this point, Las Vegas won't have enough left in the tank to overcome the frenzy of excitement that will be on display in Quebec on Thursday night.
Prediction: We like Montreal to win Game 6 by a score of 3-1 and take the series 4 games to 2. Montreal to win at +125 is a good value. Montreal to win (in regulation) at +210 is a great value.