The Vancouver Canucks are the favorites tonight on the NHL odds, with an opener line set at -145. Our expert handicapper shares his analysis con this matchup & gives his free NHL pick.
The Calgary Flames Can Win Because…
They’ve got the Canucks number. It’s fairly clear that Calgary has all the answers right now and Vancouver can’t figure things out. The Flames are a young team that was supposedly to have the short end of the stick in terms of experience. However, the flip side of that is that the Canucks have looked old and slow while the Flames have skated circles around them.
Calgary is gaining confidence by the day and Vancouver has seemingly lost their way. They’ve lost faith in goaltender Eddie Lack, pulling him in Game 4, and they can’t seem to find a way through Jonas Hiller. Hiller is one of the few Flames members who has experience and he’s been great in the series. As the Flames rock between the pipes, he’s allowed two goals or less in three of the four games while posting a .938 save percentage on the series.
The Canucks are in a do-or-die situation but that doesn’t mean they’ll win. It just means there’s more pressure on them to deliver and the Flames will again take advantage.
The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…
They’ve got to play better than this…don’t they? The Canucks haven’t lost three in a row since the middle of January, so it’s a good bet to expect them to bounce back.
Vancouver just needs to stop taking stupid penalties, which continue to cost them. They don’t seem to learn their lesson as Game 4 saw them give up two power play goals in the first period after taking silly minors. The Canucks need to stay out of the sin-bin and need to stop giving the Flames freebies.
The Canucks made the Flames work much hard for goals in Games 1 and 2 when they were in Vancouver as the Flames totaled just three in those contests compared to seven at home. Look for Vancouver to play much smarter and much better at both ends of the ice en route to a desperate win in Game 5.
The Canucks are a logical pick here on the side but I’m going to avoid them with my NHL picks simply because the juice is high and I’m not sure they come away with a win. They have issues in net, they are getting outcoached, outworked and outskated. Logically, this should be the Canucks strongest effort to date, though.
Instead, I’ll go with the under 5 as posted on the NHL betting odds. I’ll look for the games to be more conservative as they were in Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver, the Canucks to take fewer penalties and to be much more efficient defensively as a team. That being the case, I’ll go under the number here even though it’s a low total.
NHL Pick: Under 5 at The Greek