Bay Area Brawl
The Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks took a while but they are finally where most thought they would be heading into 2012 – atop their respective Divisions and playing very well at the moment.
Vancouver Canucks (22-12-2) at San Jose Sharks (19-11-3)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Where: HP Pavillion at San Jose, San Jose, California
Broadcast: TSN, CSN-CA (HD)
Canucks vs. Sharks Betting Lines from Bovada.lv
Spread: Sharks -1.5 (+230)
Moneyline: Canucks +111: Sharks -122
Over/Under: 5.5 goals
*NHL ATS Matchup Report*
The Canucks, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games head out on the road to take on their Western Conference nemesis the San Jose Sharks, 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, in what is the marquee matchup of Wednesday’s NHL action.
The Vancouver Canucks have been steadily climbing the ladder in the Northwest Division since their rather pedestrian start. A 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night improved their record to 13-3-1 in their last 17 games – good enough to overtake the slumping Minnesota Wild for top spot in the Northwest.
Vancouver is playing very well in both ends of the rink and will certainly be a handful for a Sharks team that they have absolutely owned in the last 10 games (8-1-1 over that span).
Vancouver enters Wednesday night`s game with the 4th best offense in the NHL, scoring 3.3 goals per game. The Sedin twins along with Alex Burrows have simply been on fire as of late – Henrik has 1 goal and a league leading 16 assists in December – he and his brother currently sit #2 and #4 in league scoring. The Canucks second line anchored by Ryan Kesler has also been very good.
But perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the Canucks game is the production that they have been getting from their secondary players. Andrew Ebbett scored twice against Edmonton and other role players have been contributing often in both ends of the ice.
Offense hasn’t been an issue for Vancouver when they visit San Jose lately – they have scored 18 goals while winning four of their last five at San Jose.
Goaltending has also come around for the Canucks. Roberto Luongo is 8-1-1 in his last 10 games with a sparkling 1.68 goals against average. Whispers out of Vancouver are that Corey Schneider will make his first start since December 15th on Wednesday – he is 0-1-0 with a 3.64 GAA in three appearances this month. Schneider is 3-1-0 against the Sharks although he does possess an unflattering 4.10 goals against average against San Jose.
The San Jose Sharks have matched the Canucks point-for-point this season and should come into Wednesday’s showdown with some extra motivation. They have been absolutely pummeled by Vancouver lately including a 5-game series loss in last year’s playoffs.
Added to the motivation is the fact that the Sharks allowed the Anaheim Ducks their first win in 13 road games on Monday night.
San Jose enters Wednesday night’s game with the 11th best offense in the NHL scoring an average of 2.9 goals per game. Joe Thornton continues to be the leader of the pack and is as dangerous as any player in the game. Joe Pavelski has chipped in with 6 points in his last 6 games as well.
San Jose will be without one of their offensive weapons again on Wednesday – Martin Havlat remains on Injured Reserve.
Defensively, the Sharks are banged up – Colin White, Jim Vandermeer and Douglas Murray are all likely to miss Wednesday’s game, meaning that a slew of second-stringers will be in charge of slowing Vancouver’s vaunted offense.
The Sharks might start Antero Niittymaki in goal – it will be his first start since being recalled on Dec. 23rd.
Dave’s Free Canucks Betting Predictions
The Vancouver Canucks are 8-1-1 against the Sharks in their last 10 meetings. Vancouver is 6-2 in their last 8 road games. It is not too often that you see Vancouver as an underdog especially the way that they are playing.
To beat Vancouver, teams have to be at their very best and with three of the Sharks top six defensemen out, and Martin Havlat, the Sharks aren’t likely to be at their very best.
Pick: The Surprising Underdog Vancouver Canucks +111
Here are a few interesting Player Props for Wednesday`s game:
Joe Thornton Shots on Goal
Line = 2.5 Over (1.85) | Under (1.40)
Henrik Sedin Shots on Goal
Line = 1.5 Over (1.45) | Under (1.80)
Daniel Sedin Goals
Line = 0.5 Over (1.70) | Under (1.55)
Ryan Kesler Shots on Goal
Line = 3.5 Over (1.80) | Under (1.45)
Kevin Bieksa Points
Line = 0.5 Over (1.80) | Under (1.45)
San Jose Shots on Goal
Line = 33.5 Over (1.60) | Under (1.60)
San Jose Power Play Goals
Line = 0.5 Over (1.60) | Under (1.60)
Jannik Hansen Points
Line = 0.5 Over (1.75) | Under (1.50)