The Montreal Canadiens will be looking to claim the series lead in their Stanley Cup semifinal clash with the Vegas Golden Knights when they hit the ice on Friday night for Game 3 as +150 home underdogs on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Montreal stuck to the game plan that worked so well for the team in the first two rounds of the post-season while marching to a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night that has this series knotted at one game apiece heading into Friday night's matchup at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens leveraged yet another fast start to grab an early lead in Game 2 before reverting to the defensive style of play that was key to the team's upset series wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets. With the win, Montreal has now claimed victory in eight of the nine playoff games in which it has scored first, and returns to the Bell Centre with home-ice advantage in the series.
However, that has done little to buoy the Canadiens on the NHL playoff series prices, where they continue to lag behind Vegas as +285 underdogs to claim a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 28 years.
Despite facing such long odds, there is plenty to like about Montreal. The Canadiens look to Friday's contest riding a three-game win streak on home ice, capped by back-to-back wins against Winnipeg that sealed their four-game sweep of the favoured Jets. The team has also enjoyed historical success against Vegas on home ice, earning the win in three all-time meetings with the Golden Knights.
If those previous home dates with Vegas are any indication, the Canadiens will likely need to find a higher gear on offence if they are to claim the series lead on Friday. Each of those three previous contests were settled by just one goal, with the Canadiens needing to score five times on two occasions to seal the win. However, despite the team's current post-season success, Montreal has mustered just 2.40 goals per game in five home dates, scoring five goals just once during that stretch.
That's good news for Vegas, which sits as a strong -170 favourite on the Game 3 odds at betting sites. The Golden Knights saw a five-game win streak get snapped while getting their first taste of Montreal's stingy play with a lead. Vegas has shown great resilience during these playoffs, rebounding from consecutive losses to both Minnesota and Colorado to claim series wins in the first and second rounds. However, netminder Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled in recent visits to Montreal, surrendering 14 total goals in three straight defeats since 2016.