Florida To Missouri…UGH
A battle of the two top teams in the Western Conference headlines a busy Thursday night in the NHL when the Vancouver Canucks travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues.
Vancouver Canucks (27-14-3) at St. Louis Blues (25-12-5)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 12, 2012
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Broadcast: SNET-P (HD), FS-MW (HD)
Canucks vs. Blues Betting Lines from Bodog
Spread: Blues -1.5 (+245)
Moneyline: Canucks +105: Blues -116
Over/Under: 5 goals
*NHL ATS Matchup Report*
Vancouver sits atop the Western Conference standings after a 5-4 shootout win in Tampa Bay on Tuesday – their third game in four nights on the road.
The Blues recorded their second straight shutout on Tuesday night when Jaroslav Halak blanked his former team the Montreal Canadiens and are only two points back of Vancouver.
The Canucks have had all sorts of problems with St. Louis – it should be interesting to see how they respond in their last of a four game road trip.
Some may say that Vancouver was lucky to escape Tampa with a win Tuesday. Florida has traditionally been tough on the Canucks but that is nothing compared to the issues that the Canucks have had with the St. Louis Blues.
Vancouver has lost both meetings this season with the Blues and four of six overall in the series since the start of last season. St. Louis is 4-1-1 in their last six at home against the Canucks and Roberto Luongo is 5-7-0 with a 3.05 GAA in his career in St. Louis.
The Canucks are still the third highest scoring team in the NHL with 3.3 goals per game. The Sedins have disappeared at times during their last two outings – they are certainly due for a breakout game! Surprisingly, it has been the second, third and fourth line players that have been getting it done offensively as of late.
What does this mean?
Vancouver is deep and any one of four lines can beat you!
In goal, Roberto Luongo’s struggles in St. Louis have already been documented. Add those to the fact that he has dropped three of his last four decisions and things don’t look all that great… until you take a closer look at the numbers.
Lou is 1-1-0 in his last two starts with a 1.01 goals against average and a .960 save percentage – impressive numbers despite the unflattering results!
The St. Louis Blues are shockingly good and enter Thursday night’s game riding a four game win streak. After 13 games this season they were 6-7-0. Enter Coach Ken Hitchcock who has guided the team to a 19-5-5 record in their last 29.
A big reason for St. Louis’s success is their lights out play at home. They are 17-3-2 at home this season and the best home team in the NHL. The Blues are undefeated in regulation in 10 at home going 9-0-1 over that span.
They have won three straight games by a combined score of 12-4 with two consecutive shutouts along the way.
St. Louis has been getting it done with defense – they are 20th in the NFL in goals for.
David Backes has led the way with five points in his last three games, Vladimir Sobotka has three points in two games and Chris Stewart has four points in four games.
St. Louis is third in the NHL in goals against and gives up just 2.1 tallies per game. Both Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot have been superb this season. Halak is 3-0-1, 1.22 GAA, .958 in last 4 games and Brian Elliott has a West-leading 1.62 goals-against average in 21 games.
Elliott has started both times versus Vancouver this season, stopping 60 of 62 shots in a pair of wins – he is line to get the start on Thursday.
Dave’s Free Canucks Betting Predictions
The Vancouver Canucks are 18-7 in their last 25 overall and are 10-4 in their last 14 road games. They are the third highest scoring team in the league at 3.3 goals per game and own the league’s best power play at 23.4%.
The St. Louis Blues have won four straight games and they allow the third fewest goals in the league at 2.1 per game.
Vancouver will be a tired team looking forward to getting home where they play their next six games while the Blues who have fared extremely well against Vancouver will be looking to make a serious statement in the Western Conference. Playing their fourth game in six nights on the road is not an easy task for any team.
Expect the defensively sound Blues to put the clamps on the road weary Canucks and to continue their recent dominance over Vancouver in a hard fought game.
The Canucks simply won’t have much left in the tank!
Pick: St. Louis Blues -115
Here are some interesting Player Props for Thursday’s game: