Canadiens favoured in Saturday matchup with Rangers

Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty jumps in front of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

The Montreal Canadiens will be trying to close out a three-game homestand on a winning note when they welcome the New York Rangers to town on Saturday as -140 favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

After losing seven of their first eight contests to fall to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the Canadiens recorded a 5-1 beatdown of the Florida Panthers as -134 chalk on Tuesday. However, Montreal’s early-season struggles continued on Thursday night with a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings as -125 home chalk to fall to 1-2-1 in four dates at the Bell Centre going into Saturday night’s Rangers vs. Canadiens betting matchup.

Carey Price is expected to be back between the pipes for Montreal after allowing all four goals in the loss to the Kings. The 2015 Vezina Trophy winner has been visibly frustrated during the Canadiens’ slow start, including a 2-0 loss in New York as +107 underdogs. However, Price has been otherwise dominant when facing the Rangers, earning the win in 11 of 13 regular-season meetings, and nine of 10 on home ice.

New York will counter with backup Ondrej Pavelec, who picked up the win in the Rangers’ 5-2 victory over Arizona as -168 home favourites on Thursday but is winless in his past seven appearances in Montreal.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to halt a 1-2-0 slide as they battle the Philadelphia Flyers as -160 home favourites. The Maple Leafs dropped a 6-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes as -153 chalk on Thursday and have surrendered 18 total goals in three defeats this season, but remain deadlocked with the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning atop the Stanley Cup odds at +700.

The Flyers ride a two-game losing streak after falling 5-4 in Ottawa as +103 underdogs on Wednesday and have enjoyed little success against the Maple Leafs, losing in five of seven meetings including three of their past four visits to Toronto.

In other NHL betting action on Saturday, the Edmonton Oilers will be looking to record consecutive wins for the first time this season as they host the Washington Capitals in a clash that opened as a pick’em on the NHL odds.

Edmonton began a five-game homestand on Thursday with a 5-4 win over Dallas as -125 favourites after scoring just four total goals in its previous three games. The Capitals look to rebound from a 6-2 loss in Vancouver as -128 chalk on Thursday. The reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners are also off to a slow start with a 4-5-1 record, and have recorded just one victory in their past three visits to Edmonton.