Kraken vs. Canucks NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back the Goaltending Edge (February 21)
Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Thatcher Demko.
- The Canucks play host to the Kraken for some late-night NHL action on Monday.
- Vancouver is coming off what is arguably the worst loss of the Bruce Budreau era but are -180 favorites over Seattle.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Updated Kraken vs. Canucks Odds
|Over/Under||5.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Vancouver looks to bounce back after a 7-4 home loss to the Ducks. The loss was likely its worst over Bruce Boudreau’s tenure as Canucks head coach, where his club has gone 15-7-4.
The Kraken hung around in Calgary on Saturday night in captain Mark Giordano’s return home, behind a a rare strong goaltending performance. Could a similar effort give the Kraken a better result against a more manageable Canucks team?
Kraken Must Improve Defensive Form
Seattle managed to keep it close Saturday against the Flames, but the close scoreline came with some great puck-luck and a rare strong start in goal from Philipp Grubauer.
The Flames carried the expected goals score 2.71 to 1.53, but to me it was worse than that, with the Flames unable to cap off a number of pretty passing plays which went both under quantified in that data or not quantified at all for the ones ending without a shot on goal.
All season long Seattle has conceded more goals than expected, and it has now seen its expected-goals-against-per-60 rate rise to 2.98 over its last five games. I’m certainly not shuffling my belief that the Kraken will continue to allow a fair amount of goals moving forward based off Saturday’s one-off.
So considering that their bigger downfall will likely always be a lack of production with little in the way of truly elite talents in the lineup, the Kraken will certainly not be much of a formidable opponent should they remain in less-than-strong defensive form. Although I would plainly admit the deep defensive core should be able to be somewhat of a strength big picture.
I imagine we should see Grubauer get another start here as he looks to build on a strong game against the Flames in the midst a very rough season. He’s played to a -26.8 goals saved above expected rating with an .887 save percentage throughout 38 games played.
Demko Likely Gives Canucks Edge
Saturday’s performance no doubt goes as a shocker for a Canucks group that has competed consistently under Boudreau, particularly when considering that most of the losses during that timeframe have involved either a heavily-depleted lineup or some formidable competition.
The Canucks have still produced a 5-3-1 record over their last nine contests, and although their expected goals rate actually sits below the Kraken’s over that span, it’s easy to argue that the Canucks’ unit holds far more offensive creativity, capable of producing higher outputs with possession. The group holds a meaningful goaltending edge over most teams with Thatcher Demko back there.
This is a spot where I think the Canucks can bounce back with a sharper defensive performance against a limited Seattle attack and allow Demko a far better chance to succeed after being pulled Saturday against the Ducks.
Demko holds a +7.9 goals saved above expected rating with a .916 save percentage throughout 39 games played this season.
Kraken vs. Canucks Pick
This sets up as a good spot for the Canucks to bounce back against a Kraken team that simply has not been able to win many contests this season. It’s quite possible the gameplay could run closer than expected here, but Vancouver has a more capable group of scorers and holds a notable goaltending edge with Demko over Grubauer.
The Canucks have done very well in claiming the winnable contests under Bruce Boudreau, and although they likely aren’t going to win games at the elite rate they have to start his tenure, I see this as a spot where the group is likely to bounce back.
Getting almost even money for them to produce a regulation win against a Kraken group that just can’t find many points this season for a growing list of reasons seems like a winning proposition to me. I would back a Canucks regulation win down to -125.
Pick: Vancouver Canucks Regulation Win -110 | Play to -125
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