NHL Betting Guide: Tuesday 5/25/21
The playoff field shrunk by one team last night as the Edmonton Oilers were swept out of the postseason by the Winnipeg Jets. The Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers staved off elimination and are both headed for Game 6s tomorrow. There aren't any teams with their backs against the wall tonight, but the Toronto Maple Leafs can put the Montreal Canadiens behind the eight-ball in their series. What do our projections say about the Habs' chances tonight?
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The Habs and Leafs meet for the second night of a back-to-back and for the third time in four nights in Montreal. Montreal has been outplayed through the first three games, but tonight's contest is a good spot to back the Canadiens based on our projections.
One of the biggest factors impacting the Habs' chances of winning tonight is that the Leafs appear to be leaning towards starting Frederik Andersen in tonight's contest. Andersen has struggled this season with -8.5 goals saved above average and a save percentage of 89.5%. His high-danger save percentage is down to 76.3% this season and has continued to fall over the last three seasons.
The Habs have confirmed that Carey Price will be back between the pipes in Game 4, but his splits with zero days rest raise a few question marks. Throughout his career, Price is 9-10-3 without any rest while stopping 91.6% of shots. His save percentage dips to 90.1% in the two postseason games he's appeared on the second night of a back-to-back, but he is 2-0-0 in those games.
Last night was the first time this series that the Habs out-possessed and out-chanced the Leafs across all strengths. The Habs turned it on in the third period by posting an expected goals-for percentage of 88.5% in the final stanza, but it was too little too late as they fell 2-1 to the Leafs. Montreal will need to carry that momentum into tonight's contest.
Montreal should play with a little more desperation tonight as they look to avoid a 3-1 series deficit before heading back to Toronto. That should lead to a few more goals being scored with some questionable goaltending metrics come into play.
But our projections imply that there is an advantage in backing the Habs on the moneyline and puckline, and if nothing else, they should at least be able to keep it close. On that basis, backing the Habs +1.5 is a four-star wager, with the over 5.5 rated as a one-star play.