NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canucks vs. Predators (Jan. 18)
Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Bo Horvat
Canucks vs. Predators Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Nashville Predators came up short in St. Louis on Monday night and will now head home to take on the Vancouver Canucks, who are playing their ninth road game in a row.
The Canucks are 4-3-1 during this current swing, but their last four games were against brutal opposition (Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Washington), so to come out of this trip with a .500 record is a decent showing for a team that has been trending up since Bruce Boudreau took over six weeks ago.
The Canucks Are Better Under Boudreau
The Canucks had a tough time against Florida, Tampa and Carolina, but were able to post an impressive win over Washington on Sunday. That game saw Vancouver’s top-end players step up, which is exactly what this team needs if it wants to hang around the playoff race.
Coming into the season most folks expected Vancouver to be able to score, but struggle defensively. Instead, the opposite has been true. The Canucks are allowing 1.9 goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, but just scoring 1.9 goals per 60 themselves. At all situations the Canucks are posting 2.98 expected goals per 60, but scoring just 2.47. You can point to those numbers and argue for some positive regression offensively, but the same argument can be made on defense where the Canucks are due for negative regression.
Thatcher Demko is expected to get the start in goal for the Canucks. Demko has been terrific with a 16-14-1 record, +5.1 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) and a .915 save percentage.
The Preds Have Come Back to Earth
A week ago, the Nashville Predators were one of the hottest teams in the NHL thanks to a 12-1-1 stretch. Now, the Preds enter a pivotal contest looking to halt a three-game losing streak and will need to do it with their No. 2 goaltender.
David Rittich has not played much this season, but does have a 3-1-1 record in the five starts he’s made. That said, Rittich hasn’t been very good with an .884 save percentage and a -3.5 GSAx in his first campaign in Nashville.
Rittich does have the luxury of playing behind one of the NHL’s most consistent defenses, however, as the Predators are allowing just 9.75 high-danger scoring chances (third) and 2.22 expected goals against (fourth) per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
Nashville’s offense isn’t one that tends to light up the scoresheet, but when your defense is this stingy, it relieves a lot of pressure on the forwards.
Canucks vs. Predators Pick
With the projected goaltending matchup, I see this game as pretty close to a coin flip. Rittich has a decent record, but he’s a few tiers below Juuse Saros, and more importantly, Thatcher Demko.
Both teams are playing their third game in four nights, but Vancouver is coming off a rest day while Nashville traveled after a divisional showdown in St. Louis on Monday night.
The Canucks have been trending up since Boudreau took over and I think the gap between these teams is closer than the odds suggest, even if Vancouver is the road team.
Pick: Vancouver Canucks +120
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