NHL Picks: Canucks at Bruins Game 4 Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/8/2011
The Stanley Cup Finals certainly got interesting on Monday night as the Boston Bruins clobbered the Vancouver Canucks, 8-1, in the most lopsided Finals game in 15 years. Now we have a series. But the game featured plenty of chippiness on both sides (as well as some Boston taunting) that seems a lock to carry over to Game 4 and beyond in the wake of the crushing blindside hit that Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome laid on Boston’s Nathan Horton early in Game 3. Bruins Coach Claude Julien used that scary hit as motivation for his club at the first intermission and the Bruins played like gangbusters with a four-goal second period and three-goal third. Can they keep it for Game 4 on Wednesday?
Canucks at Bruins Betting Story Lines
Unfortunately for Boston, Horton is done for the rest of the season with a severe concussion. This is a very big injury for the B’s as Horton, a right winger, skated on Boston’s top line and is tied for second on the Bruins in playoff scoring with 17 points, including eight goals. Each of his eight goals have come in a Bruins win and he has three game-winning goals, including the winning goal in both Game 7s Boston has played this postseason -- in overtime in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens and in the conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s the first player in NHL history to score a game-winning goal in a Game 7 twice in the same postseason run. Horton also was second in the NHL in postseason plus/minus at plus-11.
The Bruins scratched rookie Tyler Seguin (pointless in his past seven games) in Game 3 in favor of tough guy fourth-liner Shawn Thornton. Now it appears that Seguin will be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game. With this series taking a physical turn, you can bet Thornton stays in the lineup as well. He decked new Canucks villain Alex Burrows, who bit Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, on his first shift of Game 3. It’s not clear who replaces Horton on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Kreijci, although third-liner Rich Beverley took Horton’s spot when he went out.
The NHL wisely suspended Rome for four games for the hit, meaning he’s done for the series as well. Rome was assessed a five-minute major penalty for interference and game misconduct at 5:07 of the first period. Still, this is a trade off the Canucks will take every day. Rome was averaging 13:02 minutes per game in the postseason and had just one point and was plus-3. Vancouver is a bit light on defense with the injury to Dan Hamhuis, who remains day-to-day.
Once again Bruins netminder Tim Thomas was sensational in Game 3. He finished with 40 saves and the second-biggest hit of the night, flattening Henrik Sedin with a body blow at the top of the crease when Sedin was trying to control a bouncing puck.
Canucks at Bruins Odds and Key Trends
Boston opened as a -120 favorite with the total at five goals, according to NHL odds.
Vancouver is 4-0 in its past four when its opponent two or fewer goals in its past game.
The Canucks are just 1-6 in their past seven following a loss by more than three goals.
Boston is 4-0 in its past four as a favorite. It is 9-2 in past 11 playing on one day’s rest. B’s are just 1-4 in past five following a win.
The ‘over’ is 6-1-2 in Vancouver’s past nine road games. The ‘over’ is 6-1-1 in Boston’s past eight when allowing two goals or less in its previous game.
NHL Picks: Canucks at Bruins Predictions
Penalties are always key in any Stanley Cup Finals game, but they really will be in Game 4 with the nastiness level going up about 10 notches after the Horton hit. For example, 10-minute misconducts were dished out to Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin, Burrows, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa, and the Bruins’ Andrew Ference (twice), Lucic, Thornton and Dennis Seidenberg in a 98-penalty minute third period on Monday. Look for more of the same in what could be a penalty-filled Game 4. That would normally favor Vancouver, which had been much better with the man advantage this postseason, but the Bruins now have three power play goals in their past two games after going 2-for-4 in Game 3 (and entering with just an 8.2 percentage in the playoffs). Vancouver, meanwhile, went 0-for-8 on the power play Monday and it surrendered two shorthanded goals — matching the team’s entire regular-season total. Certainly no team will win by a touchdown again in Game 4 and I think the Canucks bounce back with a great effort. But the Bruins will still have all the emotion from Game 3 and win a low-scoring game. So also take the ‘under’ despite all those trends above that hint at the ‘over’.
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