A couple of years ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks were both on the same level: elite, Stanley Cup contenders. While the Pens have maintained, the Canucks have tapered off. We’ll see if they can hang with them for one night when the East’s best team visits Rogers Arena on Tuesday night.
The Pittsburgh Penguins can win because…
The Canucks are again slumping. Vancouver continues to be one of the streakiest teams in the NHL and their current stretch is not a good one. They’ve dropped four straight and six of nine. The issue these days is they can’t keep their opponents from scoring as they’ve allowed 15 goals in those four losses. That’s bad news considering the Pens are coming to town and bringing with them the Eastern Conference’s leading offense.
The Canucks are built on defense and goaltending. Until we see that aspect of the team play better, it’s tough to add them to our NHL picks.
The Vancouver Canucks can win because…
The Pens are coming off a very sloppy performance where they barely outlasted the Winnipeg Jets 6-5. The Pens have been a tad shaky on the road of late, losing two of their last four away games. Those two defeats came in Ottawa and New Jersey, both are which inferior teams to Vancouver. On the year, the Pens are 19-3-0 at home and just 12-9-1 away. Clearly, they are far more vulnerable on the road than they are at home. That extends to goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who is 16-2-0 at home with a 1.91 GAA and .935 save percentage compared to 8-8-1 with a 2.58 GAA and an .898 save percentage on the road. That’s why the Canucks are worth a shot with your NHL picks.
Outlook & Pick
Pittsburgh is definitely the play here. The NHL odds let you get in at about -105 or -110 on the team that’s been playing significantly better. They’ve won 16 of 19 while the Canucks have lost four straight and are just 11-10 at home this season. The Pens are the best choice in this one.
Pick: Pens -105 at Pinnacle