NHL Hockey Free Predictions: Canucks vs Blackhawks – Game One
Series Is Tied 0-0
Canucks: +130 +1.5 (-240) Over 5.5
Blackhawks: -150 -1.5 (+200) Under 5.5
Canucks vs. Blackhawks Preview
The series that just about every Canuck and Canuck fan has waited for is upon us. Lat year’s series loss at this point last year was a bitter pill to swallow as Roberto Luongo’s tears demonstrated.
One year later, not a whole lot has changed – both teams are very good and both have lofty post season aspirations.
The Vancouver Canucks are perhaps the deepest team left in this year’s playoffs. They have three lines that can score, interchangeable defensive players and a goaltender that is ready to prove to the world that he is truly one of the best keepers on the planet.
A series victory against the Chicago Blackhawks would go a long was in cementing the legacy of the 2009-2010 Vancouver team.
Vancouver had the second best offense in the NHL during the regular season and the post season has not seen a slowdown in their offensive output.
The top line of Mikael Sameulsson and the Sedin twins generated a total of 29 points in the first round including twelve goals, the second line was a tad disappointing with Ryan Kessler outshining Alex Burrows and Mayson Raymond, while the third line of Pavol Demitra, Steve Bernier and Kyle Welwood were responsible for some clutch production.
Goaltender Roberto Luongo shrugged off some poor games in Round 1. He had a lofty 2.92 goals against average and .893 save percentage but shone in the clinching two games for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Chicago Blackhawks had a pretty difficult time with the Nashville Predators, but when it mattered most, the Hawks were able to step up their play and reach the second round. The offense was OK and the goaltending exceeded all expectations.
Chicago is at home, where they went 29-8-4 during the regular season, waiting for what should be an amped Canucks team.
All of the questions surrounding goaltender Antti Niemi were answered in the first round against the Predators. He had a better goals against average and save percentage than Luongo and his numbers were buoyed by two shutouts in the series.
Niemi demonstrated some poor rebound control but with the defense in front of him, a major concern in goal is more like a minor one.
The offense between the two teams is even, the defensive edge goes to the Blackhawks and the Goaltending nod goes to the Canucks. This should be a very good series and the first game should set the tone on Saturday night.
Vancouver has more to prove in this series. They may just be the hungrier team.
Despite a 19-20-2 road record during the regular season, I like the Canucks to emerge victorious in Game 1 in a high scoring affair.
NHL Betting Trends:
CHICAGO is 53-25 ATS (+19.6 Units) after scoring 4 goals or more in their previous game over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 79-59 ATS (+1.8 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.
VANCOUVER is 27-13 ATS (+9.4 Units) revenging a loss versus opponent this season.
VANCOUVER is 111-84 ATS (+199.0 Units) in road games after scoring 4 goals or more in their previous game since 1996.
VANCOUVER is 127-136 ATS (+301.5 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record since 1996.
Pick: Vancouver Canucks and the Over