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Canucks vs. Sharks Game 4 NHL Playoff Picks | Preview

Game 4 Free Playoff Predictions: Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Sharks


Vancouver Canucks (54-19-9) at San Jose Sharks (48-25-9)
Date/Time: Sunday, May 22, 2011, 3:00 PM ET
Venue: HP Pavillion at San Jose, San Jose, California
Broadcast: VERSUS (HD), CBC (HD), RDS (HD)
Canucks lead series 2-1
Canucks vs. Sharks Betting Lines from Bodog.com
Spread: Sharks -1.5 (+240)
Moneyline: Canucks – even: Sharks -120
Over/Under: 5.5 goals

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Penalties were once again the difference in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final series between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks. Game 4 goes on Sunday afternoon and if there is one thing that both teams have learned it is to stay out of the penalty box or lose the game. San Jose has been lethal with the man advantage – six for 13 so far in the series while Vancouver has been nearly as good – six for 17 in the three games so far.

It isn’t a tremendous surprise that Vancouver fell to the Sharks in Game 3. After all, they are just 2-7 in their last nine trips to the Shark tank – Roberto Luongo hasn’t won in San Jose since 2007! What was surprising is the lack of discipline, the inability to generate any sort of flow and the total abandonment of what has made the Canucks the best team in the NHL.

Vancouver’s mistakes are easy to fix. They know that they have to keep their feet moving and have to tighten up their sloppy play. Penalties mean that the Sedins sit on the bench, right where the San Jose Sharks want them. The good news for Vancouver is that Game 3 should have been over after the first 15 minutes (Vancouver was outshot 15-1 over that span) but to the Canucks credit, they didn’t lie down and nearly stole a game they had no business winning.

Defensively the Canucks looked slow, flatfooted and totally exposed. This won’t happen again – a rested Andrew Alberts and Keith Ballard are likely to see action for the injured Christian Erhoff and Aaron Rome.

San Jose looked like a completely different team on Friday night than the one that we all saw in Vancouver. Joe Thornton absolutely controlled the game and Patrick Marleau was a beast as well. They were both given a lot of time and space to operate however – the power plays allowed them to roam freely for the better part of two periods. Six points combined for Thornton and Marleau in Game 3 is certainly reason for optimism in San Jose.

Antti Niemi bounced back in a big way from a rather unflattering Game 2 and stopped 27 out of 30 shots directed his way. He was tremendous during the second period in particular when Vancouver was afforded a couple of 5 on 3 power plays. Who knows which Niemi will show up?

NHL Betting Trends:
Under is 9-1-1 in VAN last 11 Sun. games.
VAN are 8-2 in their last 10 vs. Pacific.
VAN are 27-10 in their last 37 road games.
SJ are 1-8 in their last 9 Conference Finals games.
SJ are 1-7 in their last 8 Sun. games.
Under is 6-2-1 in SJ last 9 home games.
Over is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings.
VAN are 2-7 in the last 9 meetings in San Jose.

Betting Prediction: The Vancouver Canucks are prone to laying the occasional egg and Game 3 appears could have been that occasion. The truth is that they visited the penalty box far too often. This won’t happen again! With San Jose only scoring twice so far at even strength, a disciplined Vancouver team will take control of the series.

The Total has gone Over in the last two games and is now 7-2 in the last nine games between the two clubs.

Pick: Vancouver Canucks – even and the Over – 5.5 goals

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