West Coast Rivals
Two heated and hated Western Conference rivals clash on Saturday night with both having moderate winning streaks on the line. The Vancouver Canucks shut out the Phoenix Coyotes last night to stretch their streak to three games while the Sharks are coming off an uninspiring yet impressive win over Chicago in their last outing, 1-0 to stretch their win streak to 4.
Vancouver Canucks (12-9-0-1) at San Jose Sharks (13-5-1-0)
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 26, 2011
Where: HP Pavillion at San Jose, San Jose, California
Broadcast: CBC, CSN-CA (HD)
Canucks vs. Sharks Betting Lines from Bovada.lv
Spread: Sharks -1 ½ (+200)
Moneyline: Canucks +127: Sharks -139
Over/Under: 5 ½ goals
Saturday night is a possible Western Conference Final preview – both teams are that good!
The Vancouver Canucks will be playing their third game in four nights. They have won three straight games by a combined score of 10-1. Maddening inconsistency has finally given way to strong play in both ends of the rink. The Canucks have been playing better hockey and their turn around has been keyed by far better defensive play.
They have won three straight games and have given up just one goal over that span.
Offensively, we knew that this team had it all along. They are at or near the top of the league in goals for and they still own the best power play in the league at 24.5%.
Last night, Vancouver had a couple of players show that they are making their way out of personal slumps – Ryan Kesler and David Booth both scored last night on a second line that finally looked dominant.
Cory Schneider has two straight shutouts and will likely start again for the injured Roberto Luongo. Schneider has stopped 73 of 74 shots during the three game win streak but he has had his issues with San Jose. He is 2-1-0 in three games against them, with a 4.97 goals-against average and an .878 save percentage in those games.
The Sharks are winners of four straight games outscoring their opposition 14-4 over that span. They are typically strong in all aspects of the game except for one major one – their Penalty Kill which is near the bottom of the NHL at 76.2%.
Against Vancouver’s top rated power play (the same one that scored 9 of Vancouver’s 19 goals in last year’s playoff series); the Sharks inability to limit the opposition’s power play just may be the difference.
The Sharks have been very good offensively and Antti Niemi has been terrific between the pipes. He was the sole reason for the Sharks’ 1-0 win over Chicago. He is now 9-2-1 with a 2.31 goals against average with a .923 save percentage this season so far this season.
Dave’s Free Canucks Betting Predictions
Vancouver won three of four regular-season meetings between the clubs last season, with three games decided by a goal. Vancouver is 3-7 in the last 10 meetings in San Jose.
Both teams are on good streaks heading into Saturday’s showdown but looking at both teams’ last performance shows that the Canucks are playing much better at the moment. Vancouver is finally living up to the expectation that well all had for this team – I don’t think they will have any trouble getting up for Saturday’s game.
The Canucks see this match as a good measuring stick for where they are at this point in the season. The Canucks make a statement on Saturday!
Pick: Vancouver Canucks +127
Here are some interesting Player Props for Saturday’s game:
Joe Pavelski Goals
Line = 0.5 Over (1.85) | Under (1.40)
Daniel Sedin Goals
Line = 0.5 Over (1.70) | Under (1.55)
Ryan Kesler Shots on Goal
Line = 3.5 Over (1.75) | Under (1.50)
Alex Burrows Points
Line = 0.5 Over (1.45) | Under (1.80)
Kevin Bieksa Points
Line = 0.5 Over (1.80) | Under (1.45)
Total Power Play Goals
Line = 1.5 Over (1.35) | Under (2.00)
San Jose Shots on Goal
Line = 33.5 Over (1.60) | Under (1.60)