The Vancouver Canucks had the last three nights off following a 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. It was their second straight win, which included a 6-2 win against the Predators. The Canucks must keep the points coming and avoid looking behind them in a crowded Pacific Division. They’ve been off since Wednesday, so the gap has been closed and the Canucks are going into Sunday with a slim 1-point lead in the division. It’s been a battle in close quarters for a while now in the Pacific, and it doesn’t appear that anything is going to change anytime soon.
The Canucks are up a point on the Golden Knights and Oilers, while the Flames and Coyotes trail by 3 points. No one has been able to get sizzling hot in the division. Five teams have been just kind of good, so there hasn’t been much separation. Talent wise everybody is fairly equal. There isn’t one team you can say is that much better than the other, but the Canucks hope that the standings hold up and they can get an automatic berth to the playoffs. The Canucks, Oilers, and Golden Knights would assume the top-3 spots, while the Flames and Coyotes would still get in as wildcards.
Nashville is currently the first team out in the Western Conference at 63 points. If the Canucks happened to fall back that much, it’d be an epic collapse in Vancouver. No, there would be no riots, but Canucks’ fans are going to feel a lot of pain if they can’t finish this season off strong. There is reason to feel optimistic about the Canucks in the future, though. If things don’t work out this season and they don’t have a long playoff run, they’re still going to be in good shape in the coming years.
They might have some problems when everyone wants to get paid in a few years. However, they have a window there where the Canucks are going to have good talent on their team. Elias Pettersson, who holds the keys for the Canucks, and will only continue to get better from here, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2021-22. At only 21 years old, the vault will have to be opened if the Canucks hope to retain him. The Canucks should feel fresh tonight after having three days off. Anaheim is in town after they got steamrolled against the Flames on Thursday. They took a beating by a score of 6-0, as the Ducks were a no-show at home. We’ll see how they respond to that effort on Sunday. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Canucks pick.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Vancouver Canucks Betting Odds:
Ducks vs. Canucks Prediction:
The Canucks have looked like an unstoppable force at times, and rather ordinary in other instances. I think that’s been the case with the rest of the Pacific Division as well. That is what has made getting a finger on this division difficult. After winning five straight games in January, the Canucks lost four in a row to rile up the doubters and pessimists again.
Now the Canucks can go into a three-game winning streak with a strong performance tonight. Vancouver has not been an easy place to go and win for visiting teams. Rogers Arena has provided the Canucks with a serious home ice advantage.
Vancouver is 19-6-3 at home in 2019-20. As a consequence, playing for a higher seed and home ice is going to be important for the Canucks. At Rogers Arena, the Canucks have impressed with 3.64 goals scored per game, while allowing 2.54 goals against in the defensive zone.
Jacob Markstrom would appreciate a home ice advantage in the playoffs. He owns a 3.04 GAA and 0.908 save percentage on the road, and a 2.44 GAA and 0.928 save percentage in Vancouver. The defence has played well recently, having allowed an average of 2.6 goals per game in their last ten outings. This should help against a Ducks team who has struggled to score in 2019-20.
There aren’t many teams in the league who are worse than the Ducks offensively. Anaheim has recorded 2.47 goals per game for 29th in the league. They get even worse when going on the road, with 2.35 goals scored per game. In their last ten games, they’ve been right on that range as well, having netted 2.5 goals per game while allowing 3 goals.
This isn’t much of a surprise for the Ducks. They were not expected to be a competitive team in a rebuilding year. The Ducks are expected to sell at the deadline, especially blueliner John Mason who appears to be going out the door to free up cap space. After the horrid performance versus the Flames, expect the Ducks to have some pride and show some resistance tonight.
But, it likely isn’t going to be enough against the Canucks, who cannot afford to lose winnable games at this point in the season. That doesn’t always equal a win, but I was expecting the Canucks in the -190 to -200 range here at home, where they’ve been efficient. I’d consider a play on the Canucks to dispatch the Ducks on Sunday.