Canucks Hoping the Road Will Cure Their Ails - Betting Preview
The Vancouver Canucks head out on the road Thursday hoping to snap a 0-4-1 stretch that has kept some tier two Western Conference teams within striking distance of Vancouver’s hold on first place in the Pacific and their standing in the Western Conference playoff race. Vancouver has been wildly inconsistent of late while the Blue Jackets enter Thursday’s game having won two straight games for the first time this season.
Vancouver Canucks (11-6-0-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (7-12-3-1)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, March 7, 2013
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Broadcast: SNET-P, FS-O
Canucks vs. Jackets Betting Lines from betonline.com
Vancouver Canucks -1½ +175 -162 Ov 5½ +110
Columbus Blue Jackets +1½ -205 +147 Un 5½ -121
The Vancouver Canucks have gone just 3-4-3 in their last 10 games. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they face a Blue Jackets team that they have owned the last few seasons – Vancouver is 10-0-1 in their last 11 games against Columbus including a sweep of the Jackets last season.
Vancouver can point to the power play for their recent struggles. The team is 0-for-15 in their last six games (0-for-5 Tuesday against San Jose). But a look at the overall offense reveals the fact that the Canucks just aren’t the team they were last year. Last year they were tops in the NHL with an average of 3.1 goals per game. This year they average 2.8 goals per game and the offense has registered two or fewer goals four times in their last six games.
But Jannik Hansen has provided some much needed secondary scoring and has goals in three straight games for the Canucks while Henrik Sedin has two goals and five assists during a five-game point-scoring streak. Daniel Sedin has notched four goals and 11 assists during Vancouver's 11-game point streak against Columbus - so there is reason for optimism Thursday.
It is unclear as per usual who will start between the pipes Thursday for Vancouver. Cory Schneider, who made 28 saves Tuesday, is 3-1-1 with a 2.17 GAA on the road. He's compiled a 2.00 mark in winning five consecutive starts against the Blue Jackets including all three matchups with Columbus last year. Roberto Luongo has allowed 11 goals over his last two starts. He is 3-0-1 with a 1.66 GAA over his last four matchups in the series, but he's 1-4-1 in six career visits to Columbus.
The Columbus Blue Jackets currently sit last in the NHL but are playing their best hockey of the season. A 2-1 win versus Colorado Saturday and a 4-3 shootout win last night against Edmonton has given fans, management and players something to build on – finally!
Vinny Prospal has three goals and two assists in five games and Mark Letestu has five assists during a four-game point-scoring streak. That said the Jackets are still one of the most inept offenses in the NHL scoring 2.22 goals per game.
Sergei Bobrovsky came on last night for an ineffective Chris Mason and stopped all 21 shots for the win. Despite never starting versus Vancouver, he could get the start Thursday - Mason is 1-4-2 with a 3.46 goals-against average over his last seven starts in the series. Either keeper will have the benefit of an emerging defense ahead of him – the Jackets have killed off 17 straight penalties against over their past six game.
A few trends to consider:
• VAN are 7-1 in their last 8 Thu. games.
• Over is 10-3-4 in VAN last 17 Thu. games.
• Over is 6-2-1 in CLB last 9 home games.
• CLB are 7-20 in their last 27 Thu. games.
• Under is 7-3-1 in CLB last 11 Thu. games.
• VAN are 10-1 in the last 11 meetings.
The Vancouver Canucks absolutely have to get the power play going but against the Jackets that may be tough. Still, watching this team, you get the feeling that they are bound to break out some time. Against a Columbus team that they have absolutely owned, the Canucks should be able to get it going. After all, Columbus has been the cure for many teams the last couple of years!
Pick: Vancouver Canucks -162
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