Winnipeg vs. Montreal
Arena: Bell MTS Place (Winnipeg, Canada)
Match 1. The score in the series is 0-0.
Before the start of the playoffs, one could hardly imagine that Winnipeg and Montreal would play in the North Division finals. Who will be able to open the scoring in the upcoming battle? Our prediction: the Jets will be the closer!
Winnipeg current form
Winnipeg was going well through the regular season, but as soon as they secured a playoff spot, they began to slump and lose game after game. It seemed as if something was amiss in the Paul Morris Kingdom, but in fact, they were on a path to the Cup campaign, while their opponents in the first round of the Stanley Cup broke their regular-season record. The Jets beat Edmonton in four games, three of which were overtime victories.
Montreal current form
Montreal was another team that had a lackluster regular season, but they had everything under control because as soon as their rivals got close in the fight for a playoff spot, the Canadiens immediately began to improve themselves, keeping their social distance. As a result, they ended up against the cursed Toronto, who had not been able to overcome the barrier of the first Stanley Cup around since 2004. It seemed as if the Maple Leafs could make it to the second round now, especially with a 3-1 series lead, but Dominique Ducharme's team snatched three straight wins, sensationally reaching the North Division finals.
Experts betting tips
Winnipeg and Montreal played very differently in the first round of the playoffs. While the Jets managed Edmonton in four games, the Canadiens had to play all seven games against Toronto, taking a lot of energy and emotion out of their game. All of this, of course, speaks in favor of Paul Maurice's squad, which has been resting, nursing injuries, and gearing up for the North Division finals all along. What's more. The Jets have won six of their nine regular-season contests, so it's a good bet on Winnipeg to win at about 2.75 odds.
Winnipeg and Montreal have been quite productive in the regular season. In their last seven head-to-head encounters, the opponents combined to score 47 goals (6.71 per game average), which is a very respectable mark. Now the Canadiens can relax a little after the confrontation with Toronto, where they were not entitled to lose three games in a row, and the Jets will try to show who's the boss in their own ice. Based on this, the optimal option for the forecast seems to be a Draw at odds close to 4.0.
Josh Morrissey is a player who has spent his entire career with Winnipeg, and his role and effectiveness on the team grow with each season. He scored 21 points (4 goals + 17 assists) in 56 games during the last regular season, which is a decent mark for a player in his position. In the playoffs, the 26-year-old defenseman even managed to step it up with one goal and three assists in four games. He obviously has a lot going for him, so it may be worth taking a closer look at Josh Morrissey's 0.5+ points total at odds of around 5.50.