NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canucks vs. Blues
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Quinn Hughes (43) of the Vancouver Canucks.
- Neither the Canucks nor Blues are expected to make a postseason run, but there's still betting value in Thursday night's NHL matchup.
- The Blues have lost three straight and our expert is expecting that streak to continue.
- Ryan Dadoun's best bet is below.
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Blues and Canucks have already begun the process of selling off their key players prior to the trade deadline. Neither is expected to make the playoffs, but when they face each other Thursday, someone will have to win. These teams are in similarly dreary situations, but does either squad have an edge in this contest?
Vancouver has the 10th-ranked offense with 3.37 goals per game, but that includes the tenure of Bo Horvat, who had 31 goals and 54 points in 49 contests before being dealt to the Islanders on Jan. 30. So, how has Vancouver done without him? Just fine actually. Over the Canucks’ first eight games without Horvat, they’ve scored 3.75 goals per game.
It helps that Anthony Beauvillier, who was acquired in the Horvat deal, has shined with the Canucks. Beauvillier had nine goals and 20 points in 49 contests while averaging 15:47 of ice time with the Islanders, but Vancouver has given him 19:38 per game and he’s taken advantage of that opportunity by scoring four goals and tallying seven points over his past eight contests.
Even if Vancouver is continuing to excel offensively, it is just 2-4-2 in the post-Horvat era. That’s because scoring was never the problem. All season long, goaltending has been the Canucks’ Achilles heel.
Vancouver’s two healthy goaltenders are Collin Delia, who has a 3.51 GAA and an .876 save percentage in 15 outings, and Arturs Silovs, who has a 3.53 GAA and an .891 save percentage in two contests. Thatcher Demko (groin) hasn’t played since Dec. 1 and was struggling when he was healthy anyways. Meanwhile, Spencer Martin played poorly enough to end up in the AHL. Vancouver has allowed 4.02 goals per game this season, which ranks 31st, ahead of only Anaheim.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues were never at Vancouver’s level offensively, and that’s especially true after dealing Vladimir Tarasenko to the Rangers on Feb. 9 and Ryan O’Reilly to the Maple Leafs on Friday. Since the O’Reilly trade, St. Louis has lost three straight games while being outscored 15-4.
Brandon Saad (upper body) is likely to return Thursday. He has 15 goals and 22 points in 46 games, so he will provide the Blues with some much needed secondary scoring. More importantly, St. Louis could also get Pavel Buchnevich, who has 16 goals and 43 points in 42 contests, back. Unfortunately, defenseman Torey Krug suffered a lower-body injury during Tuesday’s contest, so while the Blues’ forward core is looking better, their defense could be worse off.
In net, St. Louis will probably go with Jordan Binnington, who will attempt to bounce back after allowing eight goals on 69 shots over his past two outings. The 29-year-old hasn’t exactly excelled this season with a 21-20-3 record, a 3.29 GAA and a .893 save percentage, but it is worth noting he does have his moments.
Still, will he really be the answer against the Canucks’ potent attack?
Canucks vs. Blues Pick
St. Louis is the home team and is being treated as a small favorite.
This is likely to be a high-scoring game, but in anticipation of that, the Over/Under is set at 7 goals, which is enough to dissuade me from it. Instead, I’m simply going to select the Canucks on the moneyline.
While the Blues’ odds imply they’re the favorites, I don’t really see them as that. St. Louis has a significantly worse offense than Vancouver after the trades, and while the Canucks do have some major goaltending issues, it’s not like Binnington is having a great season either.
St. Louis is also a modest 13-13-2 at home versus 13-15-1 on the road, so the game being played at the Enterprise Center isn’t necessarily that much of an advantage.
If you go the route of taking the Canucks on the moneyline too then be sure to check DraftKings, because at the time of writing their Canucks moneyline odds are +105.
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