Canadiens, Canucks both underdogs on Wednesday NHL odds

Montreal Canadiens left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) celebrates his game and series winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with teammates Shea Weber (6) and Paul Byron (41) during third period NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup playoff action. (Frank Gunn/CP)

The Montreal Canadiens will be looking to continue their surprising run in the postseason when they open their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday as +140 Game 1 underdogs on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Montreal came to life in its qualifying series with Pittsburgh, dispatching the Penguins in four games to set the stage for Wednesday night’s matchup at Scotiabank Arena.

With their upset of the Penguins the Canadiens put the brakes on the 4-8-2 run that closed out their abbreviated schedule. Montreal has also claimed victory in three of its last five meetings with the Flyers, capped by a 4-1 win in Philadelphia on January 16. However, the Canadiens lag as +180 underdogs on the NHL playoff series prices, and as a distant +3000 wager on the Stanley Cup odds.

The Flyers went undefeated through the round robin to claim the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and are set as -160 chalk for Wednesday’s series opener. Philadelphia emerged as one of the NHL’s hottest teams in the second half of the season, and takes a 12-1-0 overall run into Game 1. But the Flyers have scored just one total goal while falling to defeat in each of their past three series openers, going 2-6 in their past eight Game 1 situations.

Later on Wednesday, the Vancouver Canucks will take on the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their first-round clash as +130 underdogs. The Canucks are coming off a strong performance in the qualifying round, bouncing back from a Game 1 loss with three straight wins to knock off the Minnesota Wild in four games.

However, Vancouver has work to do to earn its first opening-round series win since its trip to the Stanley Cup Final back in 2011. The Canucks face a Blues team pegged as -150 chalk for Game 1 despite falling to defeat in each of three recent round robin contests.

Wednesday’s action begins at 11am ET with the Boston Bruins taking on the Carolina Hurricanes as -135 favourites at sports betting sites in a game rescheduled from Tuesday night due to the lengthy overtime clash between the Lightning and the Blue Jackets. As well, the Washington Capitals open their series against the New York Islanders as -135 betting chalk, while the Colorado Avalanche take on the Arizona Coyotes as heavy -175 favourites.

The Capitals have won just eight of their last 22 contests, posting consecutive wins just once during that stretch, while New York looks to build on its decisive qualifying round victory over Florida. Colorado has topped the Coyotes in four of their last six meetings, but Arizona shook off a dismal regular-season stretch run with a qualifying series victory over Nashville.

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