NHL Odds: Boston Bruins at Vancouver Canucks Game 2 Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/2/2011
Well, so far so good on our Stanley Cup Finals prediction as I recommended taking Vancouver in Game 1. Unfortunately both Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas were brilliant in net so the ‘over’ 5.5 goals didn’t pan out in the Canucks’ 1-0 victory. If you had scrapper Raffi Torres scoring the game-winning goal (with 18.5 seconds left) in your Stanley Cup pool, then you know more about hockey than I do. The Canucks have won all four Game 1s in these playoffs and Luongo now has shutouts in three of them. Luongo recorded the first 1-0 shutout in the opening game of a Stanley Cup finals series since 1984. Still, it should concern Vancouver fans that their team can’t seem to solve Thomas. He has allowed just two goals in four career games against the Canucks. Game 1 was his first loss to Vancouver.
Bruins at Canucks Betting Story Lines
I mentioned in the Game 1/series preview that special teams were likely to play a huge role as Boston entered with just an 8.2 percentage with the man advantage in these playoffs, by far the worst of any Cup finalist ever. And nothing changed in Game 1. Boston went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a 5-on-3 in the second period that lasted 1:32, but they could not get it past Luongo. The Bruins are now 5-for-67 on the man-advantage in the postseason. Me, you and three friends could probably manage that. If there was good news, it was that Vancouver’s power play, which had been the best in the playoffs, also went 0-for-6. During the playoffs, Vancouver had scored on 28.3 percent of its power plays. But the Bruins limited the Canucks to seven shots over 9:31 of man-advantage time.
On the injury front, Canucks center Manny Malhotra, a faceoff and penalty-killing specialist, didn’t make it back from his eye injury from Game 1. And now it looks like he may not make it back at all as he had a “setback” and technically hasn’t been cleared to play even though Vancouver Coach Alain Vigneault pretty much said otherwise prior to Game 1. Vancouver lost defenseman Dan Hamhuis after he delivered a hip check to Boston’s Milan Lucic in the second period of Game 1. Hamhuis eventually got to his skates, went to the locker room with 16 minutes left in the period, and did not return. He is being called day-to-day. Hamhuis has a goal and five assists and is plus-5 while averaging almost 26 minutes of ice time -- most against the opposition's top forwards.
There’s also a slim chance that Vancouver’s Alex Burrows could face suspension for Game 2, although that’s unlikely. In a Mike Tyson moment, Burrows actually bit the gloved finger of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron during a scrum near the Boston net at the end of the first period. This could be a big deal as Burrows plays on the line with the Sedin twins and scored 26 goals this season (seven more in the playoffs). For what it’s worth, Ottawa’s Jarkko Ruutu received a two-game suspension for biting Buffalo’s Andrew Peters in January 2009. You have to love the Vancouver Sun. Here’s its lead on the biting incident and Bergeron’s whining about it: “Come on, Patrice Bergeron. It’s a man’s game. Get a tetanus shot, and move on.”
Bruins at Canucks NHL Odds and Key Trends
Vancouver has opened at -185 with Boston at +170, according to NHL odds. The total is 5.
Boston is 0-4 in its last four after allowing two goals or less in its previous game.
Vancouver has won its past five as a favorite.
The ‘over’ is 5-0 in Bruins’ last five when their opponent scores two goals or less in their previous game.
The ‘under’ is 13-3-2 in Canucks’ last 18 after scoring two goals or less in their previous game.
The ‘under’ is 2-0 in the teams’ two meetings this year.
Bruins at Canucks Predictions
Boston hasn’t lost back-to-back playoff games since the first two of the 2011 postseason against Montreal. And Vancouver just seems to have a thing for openers – it has won eight straight playoff openers. Luongo, meanwhile, followed his last two playoff shutouts by allowing three goals in a win over Chicago and two goals in an overtime loss to Vancouver. That Boston was able to at least spend most of its man-advantage time in the Canucks’ end in Game 1 and pepper Luongo was encouraging. Some of those shots will eventually go in, especially if the Bruins keep parking hulking defenseman Zdeno Chara in front of Luongo like the Chicago Blackhawks used to do with Dustin Byfuglien. And clearly Thomas is on his game, having given up just one total goal in the past two games. Take Boston and the ‘under’.
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