All the energy that Vancouver put into winning the Northwest Division to secure the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference will be for naught if it cannot turn this series around with a victory on Tuesday night. After suffering three-straight losses by a combined score of 11-5, it has to make you wonder if the Canucks have anything left in the tank to get just one win in this lopsided matchup.
Roberto Luongo got the call in net for the first two games, but the return of a healthy Cory Schneider was unable to change Vancouver’s fortunes in Sunday’s 5-2 loss as a 122 road favorite that created this 0-3 hole. The Canucks got on the board first in Game 1 but San Jose has beat them to the punch in the last two contests. Ryan Kessler is having a good series with two goals and the Sedin brothers (Henrik and Daniel) have tallied four assists, but Vancouver is not getting the goals when it needs them the most especially in overtime of a tough loss in Game 2.
Give all the credit in the world to San Jose for taking the fight to the Canucks in this series. Joe Thornton led the team in scoring in the regular season and has a goal and two assists in this series, but the big guns have been Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, who have combined for eight goals and seven assists so far. Raffi Torres was responsible for the game winner in overtime last Friday night and the Canucks never knew what hit them in a three-goal barrage in the first four minutes of the third period that put Sunday’s Game 3 out of reach.
Antti Niemi has gone the distance in goal for the Sharks in this series and do not expect anything to change after posting a goals-against-average of 1.62 and a .945 save percentage over the course of the first three games. He has faced a total of 91 shots so far and turned 86 away. During the regular season San Jose was ranked sixth in the league in goals allowed with a GAA of 2.3. It was also ranked sixth against the power play with a kill rate of 85 percent.
Canucks vs. Sharks Betting Lines and Trends
NHL odds makers had opened the Canucks as 153 road underdogs on the money line with San Jose listed as a 168 home favorite. The total line for this contest has been set at 5.
The Canucks are 0-4 in their last four road games and 0-5 in their last five games against teams from the Pacific Division. The total has gone OVER in five of their last six games on the road.
The Sharks are 15-6 in their last 21 games and 13-3 in their last 16 games playing on one day’s rest. The total has gone OVER in four of their last six home games.
Vancouver is now 0-6 in the last six meetings between the two teams and the total has stayed UNDER in three of the last five games played in San Jose. The Canucks have not scored more than two goals in any of the six losses.
Also check out my free pick for tonight's Blackhawks vs. Wild Game 4.
Canucks vs. Sharks Free NHL Pick
San Jose appears to have the Canucks’ number in this series which points to another very disappointing early exit from the playoffs. It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of Vancouver’s woes in the postseason with such a talented roster, but in this series it is clearly the form of both its goalies that has contributed the most to the 0-3 hole. Add San Jose to your NHL picks, banking on the Sharks finishing things off with the sweep.
Sharks 4 Vancouver 2 (lines provided by BetOnline)Year-to-Date Free NHL Picks Record: 33-20-2