There’s GOLD IN THEM THAR GAMES!
One of my picks for game 1 is the San Jose Sharks vrs the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have the more impressive standing as they go into the Stanley Cup 3rd in the Northwest Division while the Sharks are a mere 6th. But, that matters little to Sharks ‘keeper (and Vezina candidate) Antti Niemi, who couldn’t be more ready for the show down. Some are already predicting that the Sharks will stun the Northwest Division champs, something that the sportsbooks have at +125. The Canucks seeing the next round is at -135 on the NHL odds boards and the series going the distance between the two is at +200.
However looking at the bigger picture Vancouver taking the cup is at +1200 (6th favourite) while San Jose lifting Stanley is at +1800 (9th fave), and to put that into perspective the odds makers have the Penguins and Blackhawks at the odds-on favourites to lift the Cup, at +350 and +400 respectively.
Enough with the favourites….WHERE’S THE MONEY MIKE?
You lucky people have no excuse not to follow this Stanley Cup, as it’s the second time in the 96-year history of the NHL that every single playoff game will be televised nationally. So stock up on beverages and settle in for a money spinning Stanley Cup run.
Don't forget to check out our picks on the Red Wings vs. Ducks Series!
Anyone’s Cup Running Over?
Some pundits are predicting a wild card winner after Los Angeles became the first team seeded eighth to hoist a Stanley Cup. What’s more (following the salary cap after the 2004-05 lockout) seven teams have won NHL titles but no franchise has done it twice.
The San Jose Sharks may have come up short in their quest to finish fourth and earn home-ice advantage in the first round, after they won 17 times and failed to earn a point twice in 24 games at HP Pavilion…however now is as good a time as any to mention that they won eight road games, one of which was in Vancouver.
North of the border, the Vancouver Canucks went and won the Northwest Division for the fifth straight time, but that had a lot to do with the problems of the other four teams as much as their own form. Still. Six of their forwards reached double figures in goals (but no one had more than (unlucky for some) 13) and only the Sedin twins finished with more than 27 points.
Face / Off
Looking at the head to heads muddies the water a little as the Sharks won all three matchups in the regular season but the Canucks, claimed the only postseason series between the franchises (over five games) back in 2011.
The Sharks have been a bit of a streaky team this season in particular in the so expect what they do in game one to echo down the games. However, the Canucks aren’t running red hot right now either, having lost five of their last eight and they finished VERY poorly indeed with a 7-2 honking in Edmonton.
Your Humble Handicapper has factored all these elements into his skull encased super computer and predicts a keen and comfortable Canucks victory in game 1 for our NHL picks .