Canadiens, Maple Leafs among favourites on Thursday NHL odds

Vancouver Canucks' Tanner Pearson (70) and Brock Boeser (6) vie for the puck against Montreal Canadiens' Ben Chiarot (8) in front of goalie Carey Price (31) during the second period of an NHL hockey game. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

After opening their schedule with a successful six-game road trip, the Montreal Canadiens will hit the ice for their home opener against the Calgary Flames on Thursday night as -130 betting favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Montreal travels home after taking two of three in Vancouver last week, capped by Saturday's 5-2 victory that lifted its record to 4-0-2 going into Thursday night's game at Bell Centre.

The Canadiens have received solid contributions from their offseason acquisitions. Forward Tyler Toffoli leads the team with eight points, and Josh Anderson sits second on the club with three goals. Those performances have helped lift Montreal to the top of the league with 29 total goals scored through six outings, sparking a 4-2 run for the OVER in totals betting.

The challenge now for the Canadiens is to overcome the dismal performance on home ice that marked last season. With just eight wins in their final 28 home dates, the Canadiens closed out last season with a 14-17-6 record at Bell Centre. However, Montreal has dominated in recent dates with Calgary, holding the Flames to just nine total goals in five straight wins, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

That adds to the pressure on the Flames, who travel to Montreal as +110 underdogs at betting sites after getting swept in a two-game home series with Toronto. Calgary was outscored by a 7-5 margin in its two losses to the Maple Leafs, and has scored three or fewer goals in four of its five outings this season.

However, opponents have enjoyed an average of five power play opportunities per game over Montreal's past four outings. That leaves the Flames well positioned to extend their dominance with the man advantage, which has produced eight of the team's 16 total goals to date.

Later on Thursday night, the Maple Leafs open a two-game series in Edmonton as -125 favourites, while the Vancouver Canucks host the Ottawa Senators as -150 chalk in a clash of struggling North Division clubs.

With their sweep of the Flames, the Maple Leafs have now won three in a row, and sit atop the North Division standings with a 6-2-0 record. The Toronto defence has shut down opponents since allowing nine goals over the team's first two outings. The Maple Leafs have surrendered just 2.17 goals per game in six outings since, sparking a 4-1-1 run for the OVER.

The Oilers return home as a +105 wager after dropping a 6-4 decision on Wednesday in the back half of their two-game set in Winnipeg. Edmonton has been outscored by a wide 8-2 margin during a two-game slide on home ice.

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