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NHL Wednesday Night Hockey Preview, Picks and Predictions

Canadian hockey fans rejoice! 

The 2023/24 season is finally upon us, and we are kicking things off with a bang! 

We have three Canadian matchups to start the season: the Montreal Canadiens visit the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early window, then two late-night Western conference matchups when the Edmonton Oilers go to Vancouver to face the Canucks, while the Winnipeg Jets travel to the Saddledome to take on the Calgary Flames. 

Let’s take a closer look at these games and make some picks. 

Original Six rivalry renewed

What  Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Where  Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
When  7 PM ET, Wednesday, October 11
How to watch  Sportsnet
Money LineMON Canadiens +240, TOR Maple Leafs -300

These are two teams going in opposite directions. Montreal is in the middle of a rebuild, while the Maple Leafs are in their Stanley Cup contention window. 

But don’t let that fact fool you. Montreal tends to play very competitive games against their historic rival, particularly early in the season. In their last ten meetings, Montreal has a 6-4 record against Toronto. In their last five season opening games against the Leafs, Montreal has a record of 2-1-2. 

Since 2017/18, the Leafs and Canadiens have played seven games in the first month of the NHL calendar. Four of those games have gone to overtime and six were one goal games. 

I like the value you get on the puck line for Montreal. I’m taking the Canadiens on the puck line (+1.5), and for the game to go to overtime. 

Robert Munnich's picks:

Puck Line: Montreal (+1.5) +100

Tied After Regulation: Yes +375

Click here for all you need to know about the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens rivalry.

Oilers' quest for the Cup begins

What  Edmonton Oilers @ Vancouver Canucks
Where  Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
When  10 PM ET, Wednesday, October 11
How to watch  Sportsnet
Money LineEDM Oilers -160, VAN Canucks +140

Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the highest scoring team in the NHL visit a Canucks team that is coming off a tough season where they finished with only 83 points.

The Oilers are a team that is locked and loaded with the Stanley Cup on their mind. While the Canucks are coming into the season a little banged up with injuries to Carson Soucy and Ilya Mikheyev and a lot of question marks about their roster.

Special teams could also play a role in this game. Edmonton had the best power play in NHL history last season while the Canucks ranked dead last in the NHL in penalty killing. 

Robert Munnich's picks:

Puck Line: Edmonton (-1.5) +160

Anytime Goal Scorer: Zach Hyman 

Read the Edmonton Oilers' 2023/24 season preview here.

Flames eyeing hot start

What  Winnipeg Jets @ Calgary Flames
Where  Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
When  10 PM ET, Wednesday, October 11
How to watch  Sportsnet
Money LineWIN Jets +120, CAL Flames -140

The Jets and Flames is the closest matchup on paper when it comes to the three all Canadian games on Wednesday night. 

Both teams have question marks coming into the season. How will the Jets fair without long time captain Blake Wheeler and star center Pierre-Luc Dubois? Will the Flames star players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm and Jacob Markstrom be able to bounce back after a tough 2022/23 campaign?

Both teams are tracking to compete for third in their respective divisions or a wild card spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Because of that, I think this is going to be a close game.

Historically the Flames have struggled in their season openers. From 2010-2021, the Flames had an 11-game season opener losing streak. That was broken last year in a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. They’ve received below average goaltending from Jacob Markstrom dating back to their second-round playoff exit to the Oilers in the spring of 2022. Calgary is also learning a new offensive and defensive system and getting used to a new culture which might take some time to get used to. 

I’m going to go with the team with the better track record in season openers, stable goaltending, and established head coach with their team, the Winnipeg Jets. 

Robert Munnich's picks:

Money Line: Winnipeg +120

Correct Score: Winnipeg Wins 4-2 +1600 

Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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