Canadiens Draft Lottery Odds Come Down To The Final Game
It all comes down to the final day of the season for the Montreal Canadiens.
Usually, we’d be discussing playoffs, but as every Habs fan knows, 2022-23 represents a race to the bottom, and a race toward improved 2023 Draft Lottery odds, which include a chance at drafting phenom Connor Bedard.
The Canadiens are coming off their 44th regulation loss of the year on Wednesday night, an easy 4-2 win by the New York Islanders.
The game was important for two reasons: not only did the Canadiens avoid earning points in the standings, and thus maintained their grip on the fifth-worst position in the standings, but it also meant the Islanders would qualify for playoffs, edging out Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Wild Card spot in the East.
And Then There Were Two
With 81 games in the books, both the Canadiens and Coyotes are vying for a bottom-five finish.
As it stands, the Canadiens have earned just 68 points, good for 28th overall. They have an 8.5 percent chance of winning the 2023 Draft Lottery, and thus securing the rights to Bedard. They also have an 8.5 percent chance of winning the second Draft Lottery.
The Coyotes have registered 69 points, giving them a 7.5 percent chance of winning both lotteries.
Click here to check out the latest Draft Lottery Odds.
Montreal will face the league-leading Boston Bruins in their final game of the season, whereas the Coyotes are set to play the Vancouver Canucks
The Canadiens have won 3 of their last 10 games, though you’d be hard-pressed to argue they’re the favourites heading into the matchup against the Bruins.
Boston isn’t just a good team, they’re a historically noteworthy team, having already secured 133 points in the standings.
It is a home game for the Canadiens, though that doesn’t mean much, given the Bruins have a 30-8-2 record on the road this season, compared to the 17 games the Canadiens won at the Bell Centre.
Linus Ullmark, who should easily cruise to a Vezina Trophy this season, will not play, as he did not make to Montreal trip for the Bruins. However, Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins’ backup, is also one of the best goaltenders in the league, as evidenced by his 0.922 save percentage this season.
The Bruins are expected to rest several of their star players, although when you consider the Canadiens have roughly half their roster on the injured reserve, statistically speaking, this should be an easy win for Boston, who have won nine of their last 10 games, including seven wins in a row.
It’s also worth noting the Bruins won both their meetings with the Canadiens this season, with both games ending 4-2 in favour of Boston.
The Coyotes will face the Canucks, who, for the most part, have done a great job improving their overall level of play in the final stretch of the season.
Vancouver is 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, a stark contrast to the 1-7-2 record from the Coyotes in the same number of games.
Fortunately for Canadiens fans, the game will take place in Arizona, which means the Coyotes will possibly improve upon their healthy home record of 21-15-4 this season. For their part, the Canucks have won just 18 of their 41 road games in 2022-23.
The two teams have met twice this season, with each team taking home a hard-fought 3-2 win, including March 16th’s matchup, which ended in Arizona’s favour.
There are no guarantees in hockey, and Vancouver is definitely the stronger team, but the Coyotes’ road record, as well as their recent win against the Canucks may just be enough to convince fans this will be a close game.
Regardless of the outcome on Thursday night, we’re still discussing a one percent difference in Lottery Odds, which should put some Canadiens fans at ease.
Of course, everyone wants a better shot at drafting Bedard, but the fact remains this will be one of the strongest drafts in recent NHL history, which means regardless of where the Canadiens end up, they should finish the 2022-23 season by putting their hands on a very talented play at the Draft.
All Draft Odds information is via Tankathon.
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Interesting thing is that if both Slaf and Wright were in THIS 2023 draft instead of last year, they probably don’t sniff the top 10…
Yes they would…
Slaf would get 5-6th consideration.
Go Bruins! Go ‘Yotes!
Only a 1% difference in getting Bedard, but a huge difference in drafting in the top 5 or not. If we secure 28th place, we have over 41% chance of drafting in the top 5. If we were in 27th place, we have just over a 15% chance of drafting in the top 5. That alone shows the importance of not beating the Bruins tonight.