NHL Odds, Prediction: Canucks vs. Wild (April 21)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images. Pictured: Nicolas Deslauriers and Jared Spurgeon.
- The Wild and Canucks continue a push toward the postseason tonight in Minnesota.
- Both teams have surged of late, but Vancouver in particular is still trying to move into playoff position.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Canucks vs. Wild Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Minnesota Wild host a surging Vancouver Canucks team on Thursday night. It’ll be the third and final time both teams square off, with the Wild winning the first two games both by the score of 3-2.
The Canucks have gotten hot at the right time, as they’re making one final push to make the playoffs. Prior to their shootout loss on Tuesday, Vancouver won six consecutive games and has gone 7-2-1 in its last 10 games. The Canucks are four points out of a playoff spot with six games left to go.
Minnesota has been playing out of its mind as of late, as it gears up for the postseason. Coming off a convincing 2-0 victory against Montreal, the Wild have gone 7-1-2 in their last 10 games.
Canucks Have Surged Behind Defense
This year has been a roller coaster for the Canucks. But after hiring Bruce Boudreau, he’s managed to get the best out of their players. JT Miller continues to be having a career year with 90+ points, while Elias Pettersson picked up his game after a slow start.
Not only that, but captain Bo Horvat (who will be out with injury) and Quinn Hughes are having quality seasons as well. The only real significant injury aside from Horvat is that Nils Hoglander is out for the season.
The Canucks are about as average on the offensive end as you can imagine. They’ve been struggling mightily scoring the puck at a 2.99 goals per game pace, though they do score on the power play around 23.63%. With a slightly below average xGF% of 48.82, it’s no surprise why they’ve managed to be close to the league average all season..
It’s actually very surprising how good the Canucks are on the defensive end, given how bad they are on the penalty kill (73.7%). They do a decent job at limiting high danger chances (closer to the middle), but they only let in 2.77 goals per game.
Thatcher Demko has solidified himself as a quality No. 1 goalie for Vancouver. He’s provided a stability in net that the Canucks haven’t had much of since Roberto Luongo left. The American net-minder is having a career year, posting a .918 SV% and a +16.6 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected) in 61 games.
Wild Have Elite Offensive Talent
Minnesota has one of the most explosive teams in the league right now, led by Russian sensation Kirill Kaprizov. The youngster is quickly solidifying himself as a superstar, with 93 points so far.
Behind Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello is averaging over a point per game, and both Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartman are having career-best seasons. It’s uncertain what’s going on the injury front, as four players are listed day-to-day. Matt Dumba, Jon Merrill, Tyson Jost and Jordan Greenway will be game-time decisions, while Marcus Foligno is out with COVID.
With such an explosive team, it’s no surprise that the Wild are one of the NHL’s top offensive teams. Scoring about 3.67 goals per game, Minnesota has one of the top expected goals rates with a 53.74 xGF%. Surprisingly, the Wild struggle in both generating high danger chances and on the power play. Their power play isn’t necessarily terrible — only scoring 20% of the time — but being ranked 22nd in high danger chances isn’t ideal.
The Wild have had one of the better defenses all season. While early goalie struggles have brought their goals against per game average up (3.08 now), they’re one of the top teams at limiting high danger chances. They do need to be better on the penalty kill though, with only a 75.42% success rate.
After Cam Talbot posted a shutout against Montreal, I’d have to think Marc-Andre Fleury starts in this matchup. Fleury had a rough first half of the season, doing his best to stay afloat in a directionless Blackhawks roster. However, since coming to the State of Hockey, the man they call “Flower” has played wonderfully, winning six out of seven starts and posting a .921 SV percentage.
Canucks vs. Wild Pick
Both teams have managed to put the puck in the net at a very high rate lately. In each of their last 10 games, the Wild have managed to average 3.9 goals per game while Vancouver has scored 3.6 per game.
Each team has been pretty high-powered, especially Vancouver, which is scratching and clawing its way in an attempt to make the playoffs.
With supreme talent on both ends, I don’t see what the harm is in picking the over. Yes, each team’s goaltending has been pretty good, but in the end, I think the big guys will show out in this game.
Pick: Total Over 6 Goals (-110)