NHL playoffs 2021: Breakdown, predictions, odds for Golden Knights vs. Canadiens Stanley Cup semifinal


Whereas nearly nobody predicted this pairing, everybody is unquestionably salivating on the thought of watching Carey Value and Marc-Andre Fleury go save for save. And why would not they be? Two of the elite of the elite backstops are going through off with a spot within the 2021 Stanley Cup Ultimate on the road.

Fleury and his crew superior to the semifinals after a hard-fought Sport 7 win in opposition to the Wild within the opening spherical and what some might name a stunning second-round sequence win over the Avalanche. They did lose the primary two video games in Spherical 2, so that might have been a honest evaluation earlier than the puck dropped for Sport 3; nonetheless, let’s additionally keep in mind that whereas Colorado gained the Presidents’ Trophy, it solely did so due to a win within the final recreation of the common season and since it held the tiebreaker (regulation wins) over Vegas.

However, you may say that the Canadiens are a shock. Montreal began the season on fireplace however the flame was shortly extinguished and Claude Julien and his employees had been pink-slipped by late February. Then issues turned a bit and the workforce went into the postseason because the No. 4 seed within the North Division. Now the Habs are the Kings of the North after handing the Maple Leafs one other first-round exit regardless of trailing 3-1 within the sequence and sweeping the Jets, who had simply swept the Oilers. 

Each groups wish to seize one of the best trophy in sports activities. It has been 28 years because the Canadiens — or any Canadian workforce — final drank out of the Cup and Vegas nonetheless has that new child odor in its fourth 12 months of existence. The Golden Knights nearly gained all of it in all in 2018 and made the convention finals in 2020. However earlier than these workforce may even take into consideration fulfilling their Stanley Cup goals in 2021, they should face one another the place just one will transfer on.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Montreal Canadiens: Schedule, odds, breakdown, prediction

Stanley Cup semifinals schedule

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Outcomes
Mon., June 14 at Vegas 9 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
Wed., June 16 at Vegas 9 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
Fri., June 18 at Montreal 8 p.m. (USA, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
Solar., June 20 at Montreal 8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
*Tue., June 22 at Vegas 9 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports activities)
*Thu., June 24 at Montreal 8 p.m. (USA, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
*Sat., June 26 at Vegas 8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)

(* If mandatory)

Season statistics

The groups didn’t play in opposition to one another in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Right here is a fast have a look at some stats in opposition to the opposite six (for Montreal) or seven (for Vegas) groups of their respective divisions (per NHL.com and  Pure Stat Trick):

VGK STAT MTL
3.39 GF/GP 2.82
2.18 GA/GP 2.95
17.8 PP pct. 19.2
86.8 PK pct. 78.5
53.37 CF% at 5v5 54.50
119.1 xGF at 5v5 100.16
104.38 xGA at 5v5 89.07
54.76 HDGF% at 5v5 51.61

Odds

Golden Knights -440 Canadiens +330

(Odds by FanDuel )

Offense

It is arduous to gauge how offenses will do within the postseason in comparison with the common season. Each groups noticed their objectives for per recreation drop (Vegas down to three.08 and Montreal to 2.55) however they’ve each persevered. And each are getting manufacturing throughout the lineup.

The Golden Knights’ playoffs factors chief is William Karlsson with 11, however 4 gamers have eight factors (Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Pietrangelo, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone), three have seven factors (Mattias Janmark, Alex Tuch and Reilly Smith) and three have six (Nicolas Roy, Shea Theodore and Nick Holden). Actually, 21 gamers have no less than one level — and that features netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. 

In accordance with Pure Stat Trick, Vegas has a Corsi For proportion of 54.32 and leads within the postseason in shot makes an attempt (691), Anticipated Objectives For (27.97), Scoring Probabilities For (296) and Excessive-Hazard Probabilities For (122). It is a workforce clicking on all cylinders and in a position to rating at key occasions. 

There is a comparable offensive construction throughout the ice. The Canadiens are additionally getting manufacturing up and down the roster. Tyler Toffoli leads with 10 factors, adopted by 18 gamers with no less than some extent. They’ve additionally had seven completely different gamers pump dwelling game-winners, with Toffoli, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki scoring in additional periods.

Talking of the youngsters, Kotkaniemi, Suzuki and 2021 Hobey Baker winner Cole Caufield have supplied a much-needed jolt to the lineup. The previous two have 4 objectives apiece whereas Caufield has 4 assists — together with his setup of Suzuki’s additional time purpose in Sport 5 in opposition to the Leafs and Toffoli’s series-ender in opposition to the Jets, additionally in OT. Montreal will want the kids’ legs on this sequence to maintain tempo and get across the Golden Knights’ massive, robust defensemen.

Edge: Golden Knights

(Getty Photographs)

Protection

Large, robust defensemen, you say? Look no additional than Alex Pietrangelo, who has — no shock right here — stepped up his recreation. He is placing up postseason numbers that observe equally to when he led the Blues to their first Stanley Cup in 2019. At 5v5, he has a person Corsi For at 68 and a person Anticipated Objectives at 1.19, and he leads the workforce in Anticipated Objectives For (10.8) (per Pure Stat Trick).

However he isn’t the one defenseman to regulate. Zach Whitecloud took a spectacular 2020 postseason marketing campaign and elevated his play even increased in 2021. In his first full NHL season, the 24-year-old blue-liner has change into key to the Vegas protection. He leads the workforce in Corsi For proportion (59.11) and Scoring Probabilities For proportion (60.54) within the postseason. 

Wanting past these two, the Golden Knights have Shea Theodore, Nick Holden and Alec Martinez. The latter is the one participant who has suited up with a CF% under 50 (he is at 46.41).

Translation: A complete lotta time isn’t spent in Vegas’ finish.

An enormous a part of that has to do with the Golden Knights suiting up probably the greatest defensive forwards within the recreation in Mark Stone (2021 Selke finalist) and the truth that when the puck is of their finish, they block pictures left and proper; Vegas leads the league with 249 blocked pictures and is averaging 19 blocks per recreation, most among the many remaining playoff groups.

Montreal’s protection hinges on the play between the pipes, however the blue-liners have been in a position to shut down among the video games’ largest names as nicely. Rocket Richard Trophy winner Auston Matthews had one purpose and Mitch Marner was stored off the board within the opening spherical. Jets forwards Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor collected two factors mixed within the second spherical.

The group ought to get a lift with Jeff Petry again within the lineup. Montreal’s prime factors producer from the blue line within the common season missed most of Sport 3 and all of Sport 4 in opposition to the Jets after reportedly getting his hand caught in a digicam gap above the boards and dislocating two fingers. Jon Merrill, who hasn’t performed since Could 27 due to an harm, can also be touring to Vegas with the workforce. 

Edge: Golden Knights

Goaltending

This sequence is all in regards to the netminders: Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Value. Two guys with storied careers who can management video games from begin to end. It’s going to be must-see TV.

Fleury vs. Value 2021 playoff comparability

FLEURY STAT PRICE
276 Photographs in opposition to 337
.923 Save pct. .935
1.91 GAA 1.97
1 Shutouts 1
24.8 SA/60 30.2
.936 Even-Power Sv% .938
.813 Energy-play Sv% .930
1.46 GSAA 5.57
.893 Excessive-Hazard Sv% .877
25.39 Avg. purpose distance 26.27

Edge: Even

Particular groups

Regardless of having heavy hitters on each ends of the rink, Vegas’ energy play and penalty kill have been meh within the postseason at 14.3 and 71.4 %, respectively. Montreal’s particular workforce haven’t been meh in any respect. After placing up a goose egg of their first 15 possibilities in opposition to the Maple Leafs, the Canadiens are 6 for 17 with the person benefit since then. They’ve been 82.4 % efficient when short-handed. 

Edge: Canadiens

(Getty Photographs)

Key gamers to observe

Max Pacioretty (VGK): Who does not love a tantalizing storyline? The ex-Canadiens captain will certainly love nothing greater than to ship his outdated workforce {golfing}. He was shipped west three years in the past and has flourished in Sin Metropolis. He missed the primary six video games of the playoffs (after lacking the final six video games of the common season) however returned to the lineup in a giant means. In seven video games, he has 4 objectives and 4 assists with a team-best 1.14 factors per recreation. He hasn’t performed a lot in opposition to the Canadiens in his profession however does have two factors (purpose, help) in three video games in opposition to the franchise that made him a first-round draft choose in 2007.

Cole Caufield (MTL): Talking of first-rounders, Caufield has injected a ton of vitality into the Canadiens’ lineup. As talked about, he has arrange a number of massive objectives — and that was after he was a wholesome scratch for the primary two video games of the postseason. Caufield is a pure purpose scorer, and whereas he does not have a purpose within the postseason simply but (4 assists, three of them major ain’t shabby), he has come shut. He has a whopping 34 shot makes an attempt (29 of which received previous the protection) and 22 pictures on internet. 

Golden Knights vs. Canadiens playoff historical past

These two groups have by no means met within the postseason.

Final 5 playoff appearances

Vegas Golden Knights

YEAR FINISH
2020 Misplaced in convention finals to DAL in 5 video games
2019 Misplaced in first spherical to SJS in seven video games
2018 Misplaced in Stanley Cup Ultimate to WSH in 5 video games

Montreal Canadiens

YEAR FINISH
2020 Misplaced in first spherical to PHI in six video games
2017 Misplaced in first spherical to NYR in six video games
2015 Misplaced in second spherical to TBL in six video games
2014 Misplaced in convention finals to NYR in six video games
2013 Misplaced in convention quarterfinals to OTT in 5 video games

Golden Knights vs. Canadiens prediction

It’s going to all come right down to which netminder can outduel the opposite.

Prediction: Golden Knights in 6





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