We have started the playoffs with three straight winners with our featured selections here at The Sports Geek, and we’ll look to make it four-in-a-row to kick off the weekend. Last night the Sens came through for us as a big underdog, though our bonus picks didn’t fare quite as well. Today is a new day though, and with four games again on the slate, there remain a ton of options to fulfill our betting appetite.
Tonight’s featured pick will focus on a key match-up from Game 2 in the Sharks and Canucks series. It is a tone-setting game for both teams and should produce an exciting affair. Read on below for my thoughts on the game.
San Jose Sharks (+120) @ Vancouver Canucks (-140)
Well it certainly wasn’t the start the Canucks were hoping for from these 2013 playoffs. Vancouver was out-worked and out-played in Game 1 and their fan base got on the disappointing team toward the end of the game. Starting net-minder Corey Schneider remains out injured, but Roberto Luongo was fine in Game 1 and expect him to be solid yet again tonight.
There is a lot of tension surrounding the Canucks organization at the moment. You get the feeling this is truly a watershed series for their franchise, and as a result a pivotal game to their future direction. Vancouver had some solid stretches in the opening game, but they need to bring that effort for a full sixty minutes. The Canucks are a deep and veteran-laden group and they’re well aware of this. Expect Alain Vigneualt’s team to respond in a large way come Friday evening.
Vancouver re-jigged their lines in practice yesterday and these new combinations should match-up better with a big and physical San Jose squad. Though Ryan Kesler isn’t at his best right now, the gritty centre still played close to 22 minutes in Game 1 and he’ll do everything he can for his team to win. He reportedly had a bad flu in Game 1 and should be much better for Game 2. His pairing in Game 2 with Derek Roy will gave Vancouver a much needed offensive punch on their second line and also remove some the pressure on the Sedin twins.
San Jose enters this contest knowing there’s an opportunity here, but the Sharks have never seized opportunities come the springtime. The Sharks are likely feeling content with Game 1, and when you consider how dominant they’ve been on home ice this series, you have to figure they’re fine with heading south with a split in B.C. The Canucks on the other hand are well aware of San Jose’s dominance at the HP Pavilion. Vancouver will be hard-pressed to win in their building, making tonight’s clash a true must-win game. The Canucks need this one and they should be able to get it. Expect a better performance from their forwards and they’ll make a vulnerable Sharks’ back-end work much harder in Game 2.
Following Game 1, head coach of Vancouver Alain Vigneault claimed “I know our guys can play better than they did tonight,” and expect them to do just that. It is simply too big of a game not to show up and the Canucks won’t go out without putting up a fight. Expect Vancouver to possess more of the puck this time around, and though the price is somewhat steep at -140, in this situation the price is warranted. Back the ‘Nucks in Game 2.
PICK = Vancouver (-140)
Our bonus picks were winless last night as we endured a couple of tough breaks. Tonight I am quite intrigued by a quick turnaround in Game 2 of the Habs and Sens. It was an exciting affair yesterday evening and bank on a spirited clash for tonight’s contest as well. There seems to now be bad blood between these teams after the Eric Gryba hit on Lars Eller, and it’ll be interesting to see how both teams respond.
Bonus Pick #1: Ottawa/Montreal Under 5 (-120) We got burned on this exact selection last night, but I truly believe it was an under game that was blown out of proportion following the controversial hit on Lars Eller. That play changed the way the game was going and I expect much better goaltending from Montreal tonight. With key injuries to Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta, Montreal loses significant scoring punch from their line-up. Both teams are most comfortable with a low-chance affair, and bank on seeing that tonight. A 2-1 or 3-1 scoreline seems fitting for tonight’s contest.