What a wacky season it has been betting on the NHL. On Friday night, the Ducks who have averaged less than 2 goals per game all season long score 4 in on one period. Yesterday the Capitals lost to one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Sabres, and the LA Kings one of the best defenses in the league allowed 5 goals in a losing effort to the Ottawa Senators. I can note several other examples, but we’ll leave it at that. Today is the last day of the divisional round in the NFL, as the conference championships take shape next weekend. There are actually more games on the schedule today than I expected there to be given the NFL. Sundays usually become a full card after the NFL is done, but we get a pretty decent sized one today. A lot of big favorites today though, which I don’t normally like taking. I have seen a lot of juiced up teams this season. There have been times I want to take a team, but not at the price they are supplying. Tonight I am going to take a look at one of those games, as the Vancouver Canucks continue their east coast trip with a meeting in Brooklyn with the New York Islanders.
The Canucks left home on a positive note, taking care of business against the then twelve game streaking Panthers. Over two games on the road trip, the Canucks have gone 1-1. An overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes and a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. The Capitals are the Capitals and the Hurricanes can be a pest to deal with on the road. So, up to this point it hasn’t been a bad trip away from home for the Canucks. One way to make it good would be a win today against the Isles. The Canucks have some things to be happy about, while others not so much. For one, the Canucks didn’t want to be sitting here a couple weeks away from the All-Star Game with a 18-17-8-2 record. They were expecting bigger. However, players like Bo Horvat have the franchise excited for the future. He has been there top prospect, and he showed why against the Hurricanes the other night. The 20 year old scored 2 against the Canes, including the overtime winner. He really likes the Hurricanes, as that was his fourth goal against them this month. The Canucks need more players like him to take over for the aging Sedin’s. Vancouver comes in as pretty steep underdogs tonight against the Islanders.
Vancouver Canucks vs. New York Islanders NHL Pick
The Islanders have been playing pretty good hockey this season. They have a record of 24-15-3-2 and by all means look like a playoff team once again. Threats to win a Stanley Cup? Well, for as crazy as the NHL playoffs can be, who knows, but from an educated guess standpoint, I’m leaning towards no. The Islanders are riding a two game win streak heading into today, with wins over the Blue Jackets and Rangers. After a win over their inner-city rival, could there be a hangover effect against the Canucks tonight? The Isles have been scoring 2.70 goals per game this season, 11th in the NHL. Early last season their offense was lighting every goalie up, but as the season progressed the defense picked it up. The Isles’ defense is 21st in the league at the moment, so I don’t think we can say that is any good.
I haven’t been in love with the Canucks this season, but have seen them spring an offense here and there. They just did it against the Panthers and they beat the Lightning ten games ago. The price in this game looks too much in favor of the Islanders. I don’t see them as -180 favorites in that game. It looks like an impossible price to take. The odds makers have the Canucks as +160 underdogs. I see them having a better chance of winning this game than that. Consequently, the Canucks appear to be good value for Sunday.
PICK: CANUCKS TO WIN +160