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NHL Free Pick: Oilers vs. Canucks Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview

Hockey Night In Canada: Edmonton vs Vancouver Pick

The NHL’s opening weekend will feature an all-Canadian match up between the Edmonton Oilers (0-1-0) and the Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0). Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks all season so check back in often.

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Edmonton vs. Vancouver
When: Saturday, Oct 11 2014 at 10:00 pm ET
Where: Rogers Arena
TV: CBC
NHL ATS Gambling Line: Canucks -1.5
NHL O/U Line: 5
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A pair of Western Canadian teams looking to better their results from a season ago will tangle on Saturday night in Vancouver when the Oilers meet the Canucks.

This game is a very intriguing one as there are some interesting story lines and implications for both teams this season. The Canucks melted down in spectacular fashion under coach John Tortorella last season, while the Oilers once again failed to capitalize on a wealth of first overall draft picks and stake their claim as a contender in the powerful Western Conference.

Torts has since been fired and the Canucks are hoping for a Sedin twin rejuvenation this year, while the Oilers are just hoping that they can finally get some consistency in net to backstop their embarrassment of riches that they boast at forward.

Oilers

If the Oilers can’t figure it out this year they may just go down as the most underachieving team in the history of the NHL. This team is stocked with talent at forward with first overall picks like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.

Add to that group offensively gifted players like Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle and it’s almost mind bending to think that this team hasn’t finished better than 12th in the West in what seems like forever.

The operative word is almost mind bending. On the defensive side of the puck,  management has not given this forward group any support on defense or in goal to back up what they can do when they have the puck.

The Oilers looked like they would roll Ben Scrivens this year who shone at times last season, but wasn’t able to make the saves when he needed to in the Oil’s season opening loss to the Calgary Flames.

Scrivens gave up five goals on just 26 shots in a game that Edmonton dominated for the most part, outshooting the Oilers by a count of 40-26.

Edmonton will opt to go with Viktor Fasth in their second game and (no pressure Vik) but he could win the starting job very early if he has a strong outing against Vancouver.

Canucks

Vancouver could very well be a solid sleeper pick to make some noise in the West this year. Their core remains very much in tact save the departure of Ryan Kesler. The Sedins are in their twilight but veteran Radim Vrbata looks like he could be a great fit on their line. Alex Burrows get off the hop early with a goal in their first game bodes well for the team’s second line alongside Chris Higgins and Nick Bonino (Burrows took over 40 games to get his first goal last year).

This team isn’t young by anyone’s definition but their vets are all proven talents in the NHL.

Goalie Ryan Miller is 34 years old but was his usual solid self in the Canucks 4-2 win over the Flames, turning aside 23 of 25 shots. The same can be said for the Vancouver blue line which features vets like Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis, all of whom were pretty solid against Calgary.

The Oilers definitely boast more speed and firepower than the Flames, so the aging D will really be put to the test on Saturday against a team that can throw two very talented lines on the ice at any time.

Oilers vs. Canucks 4* Free Pick

For all of their shortcomings on defense, I think the Oilers will win this game. They outplayed Calgary badly in game one and didn’t get a result due to goaltending (shocking for the Oilers, I know).

Viktor Fasth should give them a renewed sense of hope and if he can make some saves early the Oilers will settle into playing their game and I think they just have too much speed and skill for the older Canucks to hang with for three periods. Take Edmonton in this one.

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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.


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