Back Road Dog Canucks On The Puckline As Your NHL Pick vs. Sharks

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, March 31, 2016 4:20 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2016 4:20 PM UTC

Our NHL handicapper looks at the 2nd game of this home-and-home series to see if bettors should expect a different outcome, other than a Sharks victory.

Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Sharks
In the second game of a short home-and-home series, the bottom dwelling Vancouver Canucks (27-36-13) look to break their nine game losing streak against the San Jose Sharks (43-28-6). The Sharks find themselves 3 points back of the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference coming into this one and need to keep the pressure on for getting favorable seeding in the playoffs. They do have a playoff spot locked up though, and based on the records of these two teams, it is not surprising that they find themselves heavy favorites in this match up. The Sharks have opened to odds as steep as -260 favorites at 5Dimes, while the Over of 5 has a lean at -135 at the same book. If puck lines interest you, Vancouver is paying off at -141 on the NHL odds boards when getting 1.5 goals here.

San Jose took the first game in this mini-series 4-1 in Vancouver on Tuesday night. In that game, Sharks center Logan Couture picked up his first career hat trick. Couture lost quite a bit of time this season with a ‘lower body injury’, in hockey terms, which is definitely not as stylish as his name implies. San Jose is under .500 without him in the lineup, so he is an important cog in the machine for the Sharks.

In a stat that still surprises me even as the regular season comes to an end, the Sharks still have a losing record at home this year at 17-21. With their overall record being what it is this is a stat that is ripe for regression in a positive way.

Vancouver will be missing a key player in this game in Jake Virtanen, who was suspended for two games after a game misconduct in the game on Tuesday as he absolutely laid out Roman Polak of the Sharks. Although that is positive for the Sharks in this game, the penalty itself did highlight the fact that Vancouver does have a decent penalty kill and San Jose wasn’t able to score in those five minutes, and in fact gave up a short-handed goal.

Martin Jones should be back in the crease for the Sharks in this game, as his backup played in the first game on Tuesday night. Jones is 36-21-4 this year with a 2.25 goals against average, .919 save percentage, and five shutouts. Jones has never lost to Vancouver in his career and has only gave up 3 goals in two complete games.

In goal for Vancouver should be veteran Ryan Miller, who is 9-4 in his career against San Jose. He is having one of the worst seasons of his career thus far, compiling a 15-23-9 record and 2.64 goals against average. The save percentage is there though, as he is stopping .917 percent of shots against him this season. Miller allowed three goals in each of the games against the Sharks in early March and late February, both losses for the Canucks.


Betting Analysis
The Canucks play very good against the Sharks at San Jose when given any goals, going 5-1 ATS and SU in the last three seasons. That may be different in this game with the loss of Virtanen and the bevy of players on the Canuck’s injured reserve. But this is hockey, and weird things happen when one team can play without expectations and the other is tight and in need of a win. I like the odds we are getting with Vancouver getting an extra goal here, and I am taking the Canucks at -141 at Pinnacle on the puck line as my Thursday NHL picks.

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Free NBA Pick: Vancouver +1.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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