Blackhawks at Canucks Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Dave Schwab - 2/1/2013
The Chicago Blackhawks will try and keep their fast start going this Friday night when the head north of the border to the Rogers Center for a huge Western Conference showdown against the Vancouver Canucks. Game time for this clash is scheduled for 10 p.m. (ET), and it will be available on NHL Center Ice.
Chicago has stormed its way to the top of the Western Conference standings with 13 points, but its six-game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night in a 3-2 shootout against Minnesota as a -126 road favorite. The total stayed “under” the 5.5 line and has now stayed under in its last five games.
The Canucks snapped a two-game skid on the road by returning home Wednesday to shut out Colorado, 3-0, as -182 favorites. This win leaves Vancouver 3-2-2 on the year with the total staying under in five of their last six games.
Blackhawks at Canucks Betting Storylines
Chicago’s fast start can be attributed an all-around effort with an average of 3.43 goals a game on offense to complement a defense that has been holding opponents to 2.14 goals a game. This tremendous balance has the Blackhawks ranked fifth in the league in both of these categories. They are also ranked in the top third of the league on the man-advantage with a power play percentage of 25.0 and a penalty kill rate of 96.3 percent.
Patrick Kane leads the team in points with 10 (two goals, eight assists), but Marian Hossa has been the top sharp-shooter with five goals. Jonathan Toews is right up there as well with four goals and three assists, but scoring in this lineup has been deep with nine other players tallying at least one goal so far. Corey Crawford has been rock-solid in goal with a save percentage of .931 and a 1.79 goals-against average.
It has been a bumpy start for the Canucks with four losses in their first six games, but Wednesday’s shutout is definitely a step in the right direction. They have done a great job at keeping games close, but part of their problem has been a 1-2 record in shootouts Overall, Vancouver is averaging just 2.57 goals a game, but it has done a good job defensively with a GAA of 2.43. It ranks 16th in the league on the power play and 23rd in killing them off at 73.3 percent.
Zack Kassian has been the Canucks top goal scorer with five, but both Daniel Sedin and Alexander Edler each has two goals and four assists to lead the team in total points with six. The most encouraging thing for Vancouver has been the play of Roberto Luongo. Cory Schneider saw most of the early action between the pipes, but Luongo has made the most of his time in goal with a GAA of 1.61 to go along with a .938 save percentage.
Blackhawks at Canucks NHL Betting Odds and Trends
Chicago comes into this matchup a slight +106 road underdog on BetOnline’s money line (as of deadline for this article) with Vancouver listed as a -115 home favorite. The “over/under” line has been set at 5.5.
The Blackhawks are 6-1 in their last seven road games and 8-2 in their last 10 games on one day’s rest. The total has stayed under in their last six games on one day’s rest.
The Canucks are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Central Division but 1-4 in their last five games following a win. The total has stayed under in four of their last five home games.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Chicago has come away with just two victories in its last seven trips to Vancouver, and the total has gone over in 11 of the last 17 meetings there.
Blackhawks at Canucks Picks and Betting Predictions
The Blackhawks proved they were human against the Wild, and things will not get any easier staying on the road for this game. Vancouver is finally shaking off the rust from the extended layoff and starting to play like the favorite to win the conference this season. Stick with the Canucks to make an early statement as to which team is really the best in the West this year.
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