The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers will square off on Thursday in a battle of non-conference playoff teams. The Rangers are on a roll right now and opened as a -145 favorite on the NHL betting lines.
The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…
The Rangers are not getting good goaltending these days. Sure, they’ve won seven of nine but they’ve had to do it in a way that they are not accustomed to doing and are not built for. The Rangers have scored at least five goals in four straight games and that’s not a pattern that’s likely to continue. This is a team that’s tied for 11th in league scoring at home with 3.00 goals per game. That’s still good but it’s not the 5.5 they’ve been averaging during their four-game winning streak.
The wins have masked Talbot’s performance but truth be told, he hasn’t been very good. He has allowed at least three goals in five of his last six games while posting a save percentage under .900 in five of his last six as well. Although the Canucks are not a particularly high-scoring team overall – just 2.79 goals per game (13th in the NHL) – their offense does do better on the road. The 2.86 that they average in road games is the sixth-best number.
With Talbot playing the way he is, there’s clearly an opening for the Canucks to take advantage. That’s why you should consider them for your NHL picks.
The New York Rangers Can Win Because…
The Rangers are on a roll once more. Sure, it took them a couple of games to adjust when Henrik Lundqvist was lost for a month as they lost two of their first three with Cam Talbot starting. However, they’ve made adjustments and have started to roll. The biggest change they had to make was to rely on their offense a lot more. The Rangers have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last four games, which is quite a change from what they normally do. They lead the league in goals per game in February with 4.38, which is a huge departure from the 2.67 they averaged in January.
The Canucks have not had a ton of success in net these days as goaltender Ryan Miller has been a bit sloppy. He was 23-10-1 before the All-Star break with a 2.30 GAA whereas after it, he’s just 3-5-0 with a 3.13 GAA and a .889 save percentage. He’s been fading for over a month now and he’ll have a tough time containing a red-hot offense.
This is a bit of a coin flip as the Canucks are an unpredictable team, basically alternating wins and losses since the end of January, and that's something you should think about when looking over the NHL betting odds. Meanwhile, the Rangers could be a good option but they’re laying a sizable amount of juice here and I don’t like the fact that it’s their first game home after a road trip (four games). But with Talbot and Miller playing the way they are and both teams being fairly high-scoring, I’ll go over. It’s a well-kept secret but the Rangers are actually second in the NHL in scoring and with their goaltending struggling, expecting a high-scoring game makes sense.
NHL Pick: Over 5.5 at The Greek