While the Vancouver Canucks were among the preseason Stanley Cup odds favorites and the Edmonton Oilers were barely projected to make the playoffs, both have virtually the same record.
When they meet up on tonight, they’ll have both notched four wins in their first eight games. The Oilers are no pushovers, which is why the NHL odds makers have only listed the Canucks as a small -115 favorite on Monday night.
The Vancouver Canucks can win because…
They are still the better team. In many ways, the Oil Can has improved. In the coming years, they are going to be a problem in the Western Conference. However, they aren’t quite there yet.
That was made evident by a 3-1 loss in Colorado in their most recent game, which came on the heels of a 3-2 loss to San Jose. The Oilers has just two wins in their last five games and appears to be heading in the wrong direction. While their goaltending has held up, it’s been there offense that has gone amiss. They have just five goals in their last three games. They have scored more than three goals just once this season and with all of their young offensive weapons, one would think they would score more but they’re averaging just 2.5 goals per game.
The Vancouver Canucks appears to be trending upward right now. People backing the Canucks with their sports picks have been rewarded over the last two games, as they’ve won both outings against Colorado and Chicago.
Both Canucks goaltenders play well in this series as Luongo is 10-3-1 with a 2.06 GAA in his last 14 starts against Edmonton while Cory Schneider has a 2.25 GAA and three wins in his last four matchups with Edmonton.
The Edmonton Oilers can win because…
The Oilers are back at home. They are a young team and playing at home is going to make a difference – as it has early in the season. They have just two wins in five road games so far but are 2-1-0 at home. The offense has been noticeably stronger at home as they’ve scored three goals per game at home compared to 2.2 on the road.
Vancouver just isn’t a very confident team these days. They don’t know which direction to go in net and the wavering between Luongo and Schneider – and the wavering performances of the two goalies – is hurting the team. The first time these teams met this season, the Oilers dug out of a two-goal hole to win on the road. In previous seasons, a confident Canucks team wouldn’t have allowed that happen.
The tide has turned in this series, and with the Oilers at home, they have an excellent shot to win.
Outlook & Pick
The Oilers only won one of last season’s six meetings but they’ve already matched that total by winning the first meeting of this year. However, the Canucks are playing well right now and they’ll be looking for revenge for the first meeting between the teams. Back the Canucks with your NHL picks tonight, as Vancouver will avenge their early season loss.
NHL Picks: Canucks -115
Chech out our NHL Picks of the Day article for more free plays on tonight's games.