NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canucks vs. Wild (October 20)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canucks vs. Wild (October 20) article feature image

Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota wild left winger Kirill Kaprizov

Canucks vs. Wild Odds

Canucks Odds+145
Wild Odds-175
Over/Under6.5 (-130 / +110)
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We have a Western Conference tilt on Thursday night with the Central Division's Minnesota Wild hosting the Pacific Division's Vancouver Canucks. Last season, Minnesota won all three of the meetings between these two clubs.

Will the Wild take care of business once again, or can the Canucks pull off the upset as a road underdog?

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Tough Trip for Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks have had a rough start to the season and enter this contest with a 0-3-1 record after blowing a multi-goal lead in four straight games. Vancouver's poor defense, which has surrendered three or more goals across all four games, is the main culprit of these blown leads.

At 5v5, the Canucks rank just 21st in the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60). On the back end, this team features a lot of talented defensemen, but they skew toward being an offensive-minded group, which has hurt them when they needed to suffocate opposing offenses.

While the defense got better once Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench last year, they have again taken a step back at the start of this season. Backing up this defense is goaltender Thatcher Demko, who is projected to get the start in this contest.

While Demko has typically been reliable between the pipes, he has struggled out of the gates this season. Through three starts, he is 0-3 with a .847 SV% and 4.48 GAA.

I do think Demko will turn it around after this slow start, and it is not all on him because the group in front of him has given up an abundance of high-danger scoring chances. That being said, going against an offensive powerhouse like Minnesota on the road is likely not the place where Canucks get things figured out.

Unhappy Start for Minnesota Wild

Like Vancouver, the Minnesota Wild enter this contest in poor form. They have started the campaign 0-3. That being said, these losses are entirely due to poor defense and goaltending.

After allowing six or more goals in each of the first three games of the season, players have already voiced their frustration with how the team is playing in the back end. I believe the defense and goaltending will straighten out once the season progresses further, but for now, the offense has needed to step up to compensate.

The main players to do so have been Matthew Boldy, Mats Zuccarello and superstar Kirill Kaprizov. For this game, we are going to focus on the Russian winger.

Through the first three games of the season, Kaprizov has already logged three goals and two assists. This strong start was a continuation of a dominating preseason in which he collected three goals and three assists over three games.

Out of necessity while the defense figures itself out, Kaprizov will need to keep scoring to keep the team in games, which should be the case on Thursday against Vancouver. Through his three career outings against the Canucks, Kaprizov has registered two goals, three assists, and 13 Shots on Goal.

Canucks vs. Wild Pick

It is no secret that the Wild’s offense runs through Kaprizov. Their entire rush is structured around Kaprizov, who typically finds the middle of the ice and carries the zone to create/set up the offense.

The rush will be a key element of this game for the Wild because both of these teams have been involved in track races to start the season with a multitude of high-scoring games. With this in mind, Kaprizov’s number will be called upon a lot in this contest.

Oddsmakers have pegged this game to be a high-scoring affair with the total set at 6.5 and the juice pushing that number closer to seven. If we get six to seven goals in this game, I find it hard to believe Kaprizov would not be responsible for at least one of them.

Pick: Kirill Kaprizov Anytime Goal Scorer (+110) | Play down to (+100)

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