Best Time Of Year! – LA vs. Vancouver
It is the time of the year that ALL West Coasters longs for. Not only is the weather finally starting to get better, the Vancouver Canucks playoff run begins Wednesday, at home where they have won seven straight games.
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:30 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver CBC, NBC Sports Network
Friday, April 13, 2012 10 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver CBC, NBC Sports Network
Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:30 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver TBD
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Vancouver at Los Angeles TBD
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver TBD
Conference Quarter Final Future Odds – LA Kings +150 / Vancouver Canucks -170 (Bet now at Bodog)
Odds to win the 2012 Stanley Cup – Vancouver Canucks 11/2
Odds to win the 2012 NHL Western Conference – Vancouver Canucks 19/10
The Canucks opponent in the first round this year – the largely underachieving Los Angeles Kings who were favored to contend for the Western Conference crown but instead squeaked into the playoffs, losing their last two games to wind up as the #8 seed.
The Canucks and the Kings split their season series this year with all games highly contested and all four being somewhat low scoring. Advantage Kings who’s starting goaltender was 2nd in the NHL with a goals against average of 1.95 right?
Not necessarily – Vancouver’s goaltending tandem finished fourth in the NHL.
The Canucks, assuming that Roberto Luongo can keep his head screwed on straight is at least as good as Jonathan Quick and if Lou somehow relives his nightmarish 2011 playoff run, the Canucks will not hesitate to turn to Cory Schneider who finished just behind Quick in most statistical categories including goals against average (1.96) and save percentage (.937).
What this series will come down to then is the ability to put the puck in the back of the net. Both teams have injured superstars – nobody is quite sure of the status of Daniel Sedin for the Canucks and Jeff Carter for the Kings – both are veteran playoff competitors who are crucial for their teams’ success.
Carter’s return is perhaps more integral for this series – Vancouver recorded wins in eight of none games without Daniel while the Kings lost their last two and seemed to be lacking a certain spark that Carter could have provided.
Superstars aside, Vancouver is by far the more balanced and deep offense.
When the Sedins and Ryan Kesler were not producing, names like Chris Higgins, Max Lapierre, Jannik Hansen and at times David Booth chipped in for Vancouver’s fourth ranked offense while Los Angeles had virtually no production on their 29th ranked offense outside of Richards, Carter, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.
This series could boils down to depth – the Kings have absolutely no answer offensively for Vancouver’s third line – Sammy Pahlsson, Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins have been terrific and often are the Canucks’ best offensive trio and the fourth line has been solid as well.
Defensively, the Canucks have the depth edge on the Kings as well. Vancouver has nine – count ‘em – nine healthy D-men that they can rotate in at any time. The Kings sacrificed a little defense when they traded Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter earlier this year.
In a long grueling series, Vancouver’s ability to plug in a few fresh bodies bodes well!
Dave’s won’t cost you anything series betting prediction
The Los Angeles Kings are the West’s eighth seed for a reason – they just couldn’t keep up offensively with the elite of their own Conference.
Goal scoring has been an issue all season long for the Kings and there is no reason to think that their struggles will cease to exist.
Depth is the biggest factor ahead of the first round series – the Canucks’ third line could realistically be the difference in Round 1 and perhaps well into June!
The Pick: Take the Vancouver Canucks in a hard fought, low scoring six games!
2012 Bodog Sportsbook NHL Quarter Final Gambling Odds – LA Kings +150 / Vancouver Canucks -170 (Bet now at Bodog) (IN USA? Link will redirect you to Bovada)