The Vancouver Canucks came to life in Game 2 of their first-round series and handled the Calgary Flames quite easily. And while there was plenty of fighting and drama, the reality is that this series is tied up. The Flames are favored at home on the NHL betting lines for Game 3.
The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…
They’ve been the better team in this series. Putting aside a slapdash effort in Game 1 where the Canucks gave up the winning goal with 30 seconds to go, Vancouver has been the better of the two teams so far. They’ve outscored Calgary 5-3, Eddie Lack has outplayed Jonas Hiller, and the Canucks have generated more power plays through two games.
Game 2 feels like a shift in this series as the Canucks finally figured it out. They know that Hiller isn’t as good as he looked in Game 1 and they managed to throw a ton of shots at him and expose him. It resulted in the Flames pulling him late in the third period. And in terms of the rest of the ice, it looked like Calgary was frustrated offensively as they couldn’t find their way through, which is why they had to resort to fisticuffs.
If Vancouver stays focused, continues to protect Lack and generates more opportunities on offense, they should take the series lead in Game 3.
The Calgary Flames Can Win Because…
They’re back at home and that means a lot. The Flames are a team that’s shorthanded (without captain Mark Giordano and five regulars), they’re young and they are short on playoff experience. Having the home crowd behind them is going to be critical.
The Flames just need to find a way to be a bit more aggressive in Game 3 as the Canucks came out on fire for Game 2 and Calgary couldn’t match their intensity. The Flames had a measly three shots in the first period compared to Vancouver’s 13, and they finished the day getting outshot 32-23. They need to make Eddie Lack work a little bit and it’s pretty clear that they didn’t throw enough pucks at him in Game 2.
The Flames were 23-8 against division opponents this season for a healthy +19.1 units of profit. Look for a strong bounce-back effort from them as they jump back ahead in this series on Saturday.
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The Canucks are the better choice for your NHL picks here. They’re a road dog in Calgary but the truth is they’ve been the better team through two games. Now that they’ve settled in, they’ll know exactly what buttons to push to get in front in Game 3.
They have no problems playing at Calgary as they’ve won four of their last six visits and they still play well in this series, winning 12 of the last 16 meetings overall. On the season, they are 24-17 in road games, so this is doable. With the Canucks being a decent-sized road dog in this spot, take the value here.
NHL Pick: Canucks +117 at BetOnline