If the Canucks are planning to make another Stanley Cup
run, they’ve surely got the right mindset going. While many of the teams in the
Western Conference slump as the playoffs approach, the Canucks have reeled off
seven straight wins.
They’re two points up on the second place St. Louis Blues
and with a win on Thursday, they can clinch the top seed. They might not get
much resistance from the Calgary Flames who’ve lost three straight and eight of
their last nine games.
Thursday, April 5th
NHL Odds: Canucks -150
The Vancouver Canucks can win because…
They simply own this series. Vancouver has won 10 of the
last 13 matchups, which also includes five wins in their last six trips to
Calgary. Truth be told, the Flames have been in much better shape in most of
those matchups than they are right now.
Calgary has dropped eight of nine and it’s not going to
be a pretty offseason for them. There are already questions surrounding head
coach Brent Sutter as well as what to do with veterans like Jarome Iginla,
Miikka Kiprusoff and Jay Bouwmeester. With the focus already on the offseason,
it’s hard to trust the Flames to spring an upset on Thursday.
It’s not just that the Flames have lost eight of nine;
the bigger concern is that they haven’t even been close in many of the games.
They’ve been outscored 26-14 over that span and it doesn’t figure to get much
better on Thursday.
Kiprusoff is expected in net and he’s got a paltry 2-7-0
record with a 4.47 GAA in his last 10 starts against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Calgary Flames can win because…
They have played Vancouver tough this season. Although
the Canucks are the top seed in the West and the Flames are all the way down in
11th place, the season series has actually been pretty close. The
Flames lost the first two meetings but then won the next two. The two squads
met up for a fifth time last Saturday in Vancouver and the Canucks required
overtime to notch the win.
The Canucks are once again having issues in net, which
seems like a problem that simply will not be put to rest. Roberto Luongo was
chased – again – in his latest start, giving up four goals on 15 shots in 27:03
of action against Anaheim before getting pulled. Backup Cory Schneider once
again saved the day.
The truth about Vancouver is that their team confidence
heavily relies on goaltending. When Luongo lets them down, the team seems to
collectively droop their heads. With the situation in limbo once again, the
Canucks might be a risky bet.
Outlook & NHL betting prediction:
The Flames have nothing to play for in this spot and
they’re facing a team that gives them plenty of problems. Vancouver has the
they’ve got the better overall team and they’re fighting to secure the top spot
in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Calgary’s focus is on the offseason and
how to rebuild. Lay the juice with the Canucks.
NHL Picks: Canucks
Today is a big day on the ice, so be sure to check out all my NHL picks for tonight.