NHL Hockey Betting: Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues

NHL Hockey Betting:  Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues&h=235&w=320&zc=1

While none of the Canadian NHL teams are distinguishing themselves with their play down the stretch none may be in more pitiful form than the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver is now tied for last place in the Western Conference with the Edmonton Oilers though Edmonton is showing more competitive fire. The Oilers are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games while the Canucks are 3-6-1. Overall, the ‘nuks have lost 10 of their last 13. Vancouver blew a 2-0 lead at Nashville last night though they did manage to earn a point before bowing to the Predators 3-2 in a shootout. Things won’t get easier for Vancouver here as they go from ‘Smashville’ to St. Louis to take on the surging Blues.

St. Louis has had their ups and downs this season but enter this game just two points behind the Central Division/Western Conference leading Dallas Stars. The Blues also have a ‘game in hand’ over the Stars and are playing better hockey than anyone in the league at the moment with 8 wins in their last 10 games. They bounced back from a couple of curiously unfocused efforts in Western Canada where they lost to Calgary and Edmonton by a combined margin of 13-8 to win two straight at Vancouver and San Jose as they shut out both opponents.

Vancouver’s problem has been on offense during the most recent stretch. They’ve scored only five goals in their last six games (0.833 per during that run) and were shoutout in three straight before scoring a couple of goals in Nashville last night. That doesn’t bode well against the Blues who sometimes lose focus (see above) but are capable of playing as nasty on defense as any team in the league. Vancouver will start Jacob Markstrom here to be opposed by Brian Elliot who has been excellent this season. Elliott has a record of 19-7-6 with a 2.01 goals against average (best in the NHL), a .933 save percentage (ditto) and 3 shutouts.

St. Louis does have a big game on deck at Washington tomorrow night but with the Capitals in cruise control it might not be as intense a matchup as you’d expect. Curiously, Vancouver has dominated head to head play in this series winning 6 of the last 8 head to head including 3 straight in St. Louis. But since Vancouver is just 10-24 -11.9 units against opponents with winning records this year we like St. Louis–idle since Tuesday–to get one back.


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