Canucks vs. Bruins Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your Preview To Betting This Sunday NHL Showdown (Nov. 28)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Linus Ullmark.
- NHL odds position the Bruins as heavy favorites against the struggling Canucks this Sunday.
- Boston's depth is being tested, while Vancouver might be headed toward a coaching change.
- Hockey betting analyst Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup below and makes his pick.
Canucks vs. Bruins Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Vancouver will trudge its way into Boston with hopes of faring better after yet another loss, a tough 4-2 defeat on Friday in Columbus to run its overall mark to a dreadful 6-13-2.
The Bruins, meanwhile, will also look to bounce back after a disappointing 5-2 defeat at the hands of the red-hot Rangers on Friday afternoon before yet another sold-out Boston Garden crowd for their traditional Black Friday matinee.
Slow Start Might Lead to Big Changes for Canucks
It’s hard to feel that changes are not likely to come in short order, and I think a loss in Boston could be the final straw.
To me it seems harsh to pin too much blame on head coach Travis Green, although he is relatively unproven. General manager Jim Benning has clearly handed him a defensive core without the talent to succeed in the NHL. I believe that has likely been the greatest causation for this start, even if Green is part of the problem.
Compared to a number of teams posting gaudy offensive totals led by excellent play driving defenders in the early going like the Avalanche, Capitals and Hurricanes, forwards seem to be underachieving in part due to the team’s lack of talent on the back-end and overall lesser abilities in the offensive zone.
The Canucks have clearly featured some tough puck-luck of late, and a very respectable 54.21 xGF% rating over their last five contests suggests results could have produced somewhat better than a 1-4 mark.
Thatcher Demko is projected to start Sunday between the pipes, although a start for Jaroslav Halak against his former squad wouldn’t be shocking, especially since he has sat five straight contests.
Both are very capable in my eyes and have not been as poor as the early numbers indicate, specifically Demko who sits with a .904 save % and -1.3 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx).
Bruins Need Depth Behind ‘Perfection Line’
A glass half-full mindset for the Bruins could be looking towards a 4-2-0 with all four victories coming by three or more goals as something to build on, but I’m not sure coach Bruce Cassidy views it that way, though, as those victories were sandwiched by a 4-0 embarrassment on home ice last Sunday to the Flames and Friday’s disappointing loss against the Rangers.
Consistency will be key going forward, and although the Bruins defense appears to be in strong form yet again this season, the team has not seen the kind of spectacular goaltending results from Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman.
Boston holds a very middling 16th ranked goals against per game average so far this season, although its league best xGA/60 average of 1.91. These even-strength numbers suggest we should see positive regression going forward, specifically considering this roster core has managed to hold the opposition to minuscule offensive totals every year under Cassidy.
Behind the spectacular top trio of Andrew Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak and the Bruins’ strong power play, depth certainly remains a big issue going forward.
It’s hard to believe they realistically offer as much scoring punch as the other elite Eastern conference powerhouses, and general manager Don Sweeney may be looking to bolster his forward corps again this trade deadline.
Ullmark will reportedly get the start on Sunday. He has stopped just .908% of shots faced with a -4.0 GSAx rating in seven games this season.
Bruins vs. Canucks Pick
As this losing stretch wears on, the Canucks have continued to play lower-event hockey, with a strong 54.21% expected goals for (xGF) rate over their last five games, which comes from holding teams to a very low 1.72 xGA per 60 minutes while creating just 2.03 xGF per 60 minutes.
Canucks games have averaged a combined total of 4.6 goals over those five contests, and I don’t believe it’s likely we see that average rise here against the Bruins. Boston has not generated a ton at 5-on-5 of late but true to form has allowed even less, with a very stingy 1.94 xGF/60 rating over its last five.
Altogether I think it’s more likely the total stays under 5.5 than the +100 number currently listed indicates, I like this spot to back a low-scoring game.
Pick: Under 5.5 +100 (play to -115)