Canucks need to put forth their best effort in order to make the playoffs and tonight they have the perfect oppoent sitting in front of them as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ice-time is set for 7:00 pm ET tonight at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. According to 5 Dimes Sportsbook, Vancouver is a massive -230 NHL Odds betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 5 5 goals.
While Vancouver is the far superior hockey club, they're coming off of a very disappointing and convincing 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at home. The Leafs also got lit up by the Calgary Flames for 6 goals in their last game, 6-3. Is there any way to fade the Canucks at this price is the question?
Thus far, we have no confirmation that Vancouver goalie, Eddie Lack, will be in net, but he's expected to start. Where the Leafs are concerned, Jonathan Bernier is "likely" to be between the pipes in tonight's matchup.
While Bernier has been a bit of a disappointment this season at 20-21-6 with a 2.80 GAA, he is coming off of a victory in a 4-3 shootout over the Buffalo Sabres. Previous to the win over Buffalo, Bernier had lost 3 straight games.
Eddie Lack should get the start for the Canucks and at 10-9-3 with a 2.48 GAA, he's very beatable. Lack has played well in the month of March, but is coming off of a very poor effort in the 4-0 loss to L.A. in which he stopped just 16 out of 19 shots. The goalie matchup is a wash.
Nobody looked good in the shutout at the hands of the Kings, but Vancouver will look vindicate themselves as they possess to of the best set up men in brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
For the season, The Sedins lead the Canucks in scoring in part to their ability to set up the open man. For the season, they have a collective 29 goals and 99 assists. Daniel Sedin is more of the aggressive player as he had 5 shots on goal in his last game and 4 assists in his last 5 games, but either player is a threat to opposing defenses.
The Canucks will be depending on the goal scoring ability of Radim Vrbata. Against Bernier, this could be a good spot for the 12th year veteran as he leads Vancouver with 25 goals. In his last 4 games, Vrbata has 3 goals thanks to a 2 goal effort last Saturday in a win over San Jose. Vrbata excels on the power play and will have his chances in this game.
Going Through the Motions?
Defense has been a killer for the Maple Leafs as they rank 27th in the league, allowing 3.1 goals per game. Expect Vancouver to bounce back from their shutout loss to the Kings.
The Leafs will need to have their own answer offensively and it could come in many forms; from leading scoring Phil Kessel (23 goals, 29 assists) to center Tyler Bozak (19 goals, 22 assists). None of the top player have been playing well as of late for Toronto. Kessel has just 2 points in his last 7 games. That said, Eddie Lack is far from a good goalie and this could be the night that Toronto breaks out of their slump.
I'm not thrilled with the goalie matchup on either side and although Vancouver should win this game, I'm not laying that kind of juice with Lack in net. The over appears to be the safer NHL pick.
Free NBA Pick- Vancouver/Toronto Over 5.5 at 5Dimes