Found May 01, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
For The Playoff Gamblers! The Vancouver Canucks have been waiting for this moment for a long time – the moment that they can start to erase the disappointment that was last year’s first round playoff exit. Their first round opponent this year – the San Jose Sharks, a team that like themselves looked just OK down the stretch and also have more to lose than to gain during the 2013 NHL playoffs. #6 San Jose Sharks (25-16-3-4) at #3 Vancouver Canucks (26-15-1-6) When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia Broadcast: TSN, NBCSN, CSN-CA Sharks vs. Canucks Betting Lines from Bodog San Jose Sharks +1½ -260 +124 Ov 5 +124 Vancouver Canucks -1½ +220 -137 Un 5 -137 Headline: Canucks Begin Cup Quest Wednesday Night The Sharks swept the three game series this year but one thing will be different heading into the playoff series between the clubs – Ryan Kesler will finally be in the lineup and hopefully will be that difference maker that tilts the advantage Vancouver’s way. The San Jose Sharks revamped their lineup at the trade deadline trading away physical talents Ryan Clowe and Douglas Murray. To everyone’s surprise the team actually improved and the depth of this team became evident. But in the playoffs, a team’s best players absolutely have to be on their game and that is not the case with the San Jose Sharks. Patrick Marleau has only found the back of the net once in his last 16 games and has just five points in his last 13 games while Joe Thornton failed to score in his last 12 contests. Dan Boyle is pointless in his last six games as well – not a good sign for a Sharks team that was middle-of-the-pack offensively this year. The Vancouver Canucks have to be an anxious bunch ahead of this series Game 1′s outcome could be determined by the play of Antti Niemi who already has a history against Vancouver in the playoffs when he absolutely stole a series from them as a part of the Chicago Blackhawks. Niemi was incredible this year appearing in 43 games and registering a 24-12-6 record with a 2.16 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. However Niemi was just 1-2-0 in his last three starts with a 3.05 GAA and .880 save percentage. The Vancouver Canucks have to be an anxious bunch ahead of this series but they do enter this game having won seven of their last eight games in home ice. Cory Schneider should return to the lineup for Game 1 and he will be crucial after Roberto Luongo melted down in his last two starts of the regular season (0-2-0 with a 4.54 GAA). Schneider had been good before suffering an injury and missing the last two games of the season – eight straight wins before his forced absence. All signs point to him being good to go for Game 1. Offensively the Canucks generated just 2.54 goals per game this year – a far cry from the teams we’ve seen the last few years. There aren’t a lot of individual scoring streaks after dropping the final two games of the regular season. Dan Hamhuis had two goals and eight points in his last 11 games, Jannik Hansen has also stepped up with eight points in 13 April contests and Daniel Sedin recorded 11 points in his final 11 games of the season. Dave’s Won’t Cost You Anything Free Betting Prediction A few trends to consider: • SJ are 13-3 in their last 16 vs. Northwest. • SJ are 16-35 in their last 51 road games. • VAN are 8-1 in their last 9 home games. • Under is 14-5-2 in VAN last 21 overall. • Under is 5-1-2 in the last 8 meetings. Neither team exactly lit it up the last couple weeks of the season – the Sharks were 5-5-0 and the Canucks were 5-4-1. A lot has been made of the Sedins and their propensity to go away in the playoffs but a shortened season and some added motivation could have done them well heading into this series. It is absolutely crucial for the Canucks to jump on the Sharks in Game 1 – San Jose only lost twice all season in regulation at the Shark Tank. The Sharks were just 8-14-2 on the road this season – that’s the stat that jumps out at me the most. Pick: Vancouver Canucks -137 CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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