The Vancouver Canucks finding ended their series two-game losing streak and cashed in with a big win at home in Game 5. They now live another day but find themselves as a road dog on the NHL betting lines in Vancouver.
The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…
They finally understand what needs to be done: play smart and you’ll win the game. Vancouver came with a solid effort in Game 4 and surprise, surprise, they won the game. They outshot Calgary 43-21, which shows just how much they dominated the game. And more importantly, they didn’t take any dumb penalties – or at least not too many – as they had six penalty minutes in total compared to the Flames four.
The Canucks switch to goaltender Ryan Miller has re-energized the team as they are playing solid defense in front of him. They have allowed just one goal with him in net so far and he’s exactly the type of veteran presence you’d want leading the charge in a do-or-die situation. He’s stopped 35 of the 36 shots he’s seen so far and the Flames haven’t found a way through him.
If the Canucks continue to press the issue at the Flames end of the ice and don’t take silly penalties, and they continue doing a good job in front of Miller, they are likely to win the game.
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The Calgary Flames Can Win Because…
The home crowd is going to give them the energy lift that they need. It was very clear in Game 5 that the Flames were simply outplayed. The Canucks were a step quicker to the puck and they outshot the Flames by 22 goals. The Flames didn’t generate many chances at the offensive end as they had just 21 shots on the night. However, they are likely to improve in Game 6.
Calgary is back at home and the fans are going to be fired up. Yes, it is a pressure situation but it’s always better to have the crowd on your side in this scenario rather than going against you. And home ice has proven quite valuable for the Flames offense as they have scored a total of seven goals in the two games they’ve played at home compared to just four goals in the three games they’ve played on the road. It will help to have the steadying presence of Jonas Hiller between the pipes as he’s been very steady in this series. He’s allowed just five goals in the last three games while posting a .948 save percentage in that span.
Although the Flames are young and green, the home ice and Hiller factors should get them to the finish line.
The Canucks got back to business in Game 5 and look for them to carry that over into Game 6. The Flames role has changed in this series as they’ve gone from a loosy-goosy underdog to now having to deal with the expectations of winning – something they are not used to. Look for the Canucks to finally breakthrough on the road and force an exciting Game 7. Take the Canucks with your NHL picks.
NHL Pick: Canucks +110 at Bovada