The Montreal Canadiens will have interim head coach Dominique Ducharme behind the bench when they open a two-game road series with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night as -135 road favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Montreal made a coaching change on Wednesday after posting just two wins in its last eight outings ahead of Thursday night's matchup at Bell MTS Place.
Winners in seven of 10 games to start the season, the Canadiens have cooled off considerably. Montreal has averaged just 2.13 goals per game during a 2-4-2 run, capped by consecutive losses to the last-place Ottawa Senators that ultimately cost veteran coach Claude Julien his job.
Despite their struggles, the Canadiens have remained resilient on the NHL futures. Montreal maintains solid +1400 odds to win the Stanley Cup, and sits as a +350 second favourite to rebound and claim the North Division title. However, with the Jets holding a one-point lead over Montreal in the race for third place in the division, this week's series takes on added significance.
The Jets return home as +115 underdogs after recording three wins during their recent four-game road trip. Winnipeg closed out its junket with a two-game sweep of the struggling Vancouver Canucks, and has gone 6-3-1 over its past 10 outings. However, the Jets have surrendered 21 total goals while losing four straight games to the Canadiens on home ice.
Elsewhere on the Thursday odds, the Edmonton Oilers vie for a sixth straight win on the road as they close out a two-game visit to Vancouver as -140 chalk at online betting sites, while the Senators host the Calgary Flames as +145 underdogs.
The Oilers enter Thursday's action as the hottest team in the NHL after posting wins in 10 of their past 12 contests. Now enjoying sole possession of second place in the North Division, Edmonton shooters have averaged over four goals per game during the team's 10-2-0 surge. But with opponents potting two or fewer goals in seven of the past 10 games, it is the UNDER that has consistently paid out in totals betting, going 6-4 during that stretch.
The Canucks look to avoid being swept during their current four-game homestand as they get set to hit the ice as +120 underdogs. Vancouver has posted wins in just two of 12 outings overall, including just one victory in six home dates.
The Senators aim to win three games in a row for the first time this season, while the Flames travel to Ottawa as -165 betting favourites after picking up three points in a two-game series with the league-leading Toronto Maple Leafs.