We ended last week on a positive note with a winner as the Leafs and Bruins were able to fill the net and push the total OVER the 5.5 mark. The game was on pace for the over all along as the score sat 3-1 after two periods and Boston was able to score twice to tie the game and send it into extra time, with the Leafs prevailing with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Eastern Conference leading Bruins. The playoff picture is becoming clearer by the day as positioning seems to be the only battle left to decide in the last few games of the regular season. There are just three games on the NHL schedule tonight, but as always we will look to get the week started on a positive note.
Anaheim Ducks @ Vancouver Canucks
My Pick – DUCKS (-110) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)
The Anaheim Ducks will look to get back on track tonight against the Vancouver Canucks as Anaheim has dropped their past two contests including an upset loss to the Edmonton Oilers last night at Rexall Place. The Ducks had won their previous three games before these two consecutive losses and sit just a single point ahead of the San Jose Sharks for top spot in the Pacific Division. Although the Ducks sit comfortably in a playoff spot, don’t mistake this team for someone who has nothing to play for as the playoff battles that lie ahead in the Western Conference will largely depend on home ice advantage, something every team is still striving for.
As far as Vancouver is concerned, things are very bleak as Vancouver sits five points out of the final Wildcard spot in the West with just four games remaining including tonight. Losing three of their last four games has all but ensured Vancouver will miss out on this year’s playoffs, leaving this season as one of the most disappointing campaigns in recent memory for a team that enters every season with high expectations. Vancouver just hasn’t been the same offensive juggernaut that they have been for the past several years as they average just 2.4 goals per game, and just 2.5 goals per game on home ice which ranks 27th in the league. Once one of the most feared powerplays in the game has clicked at just 14.9% this season and only 13.7% on home ice, ranked 29th overall in the league. Anaheim averages 3 goals per game on the road this season, 3rd best the in the NHL and they have scored an average of 4.1 goals per game over their last ten meetings with the Canucks.
Anaheim’s powerplay has clicked at over 34% over those same ten games against Vancouver, while giving up just 2.7 goals per game. Anaheim has been one of the NHL’s strongest road teams this year, going 23-12-4 away from the Honda Center and have won 15 of their last 21 games away from home. Their road dominance over the Canucks is outstanding as Anaheim has taken five of the last six meetings between the two clubs at Rogers Arena and have won five straight over Vancouver overall. I will roll with the better team tonight to put Vancouver out of their postseason aspirations for good and increase their lead in the Pacific Division.