NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Canucks
Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Andrei Kuzmenko.
- The Vancouver Canucks host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
- The Wild are favored and have been hot of late, but there are indicators that this could be a tough matchup for them.
- Continue reading for Nicholas Martin’s moneyline pick.
Wild vs. Canucks Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-110 / -112)|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Minnesota Wild are on a 7-1-2 tear that has taken the team’s fortunes from potentially missing the postseason altogether to a chance at the Central division crown.
That kind of run is always eye-catching to bettors, especially when matching up against a lottery-bound Vancouver Canucks team skating out the season.
Public bet percentage is pouring in at around 75% on the Wild, but let’s break down why this spot could be a potential let-down spot for Minnesota backers.
Minnesota has scored just 1.90 goals per game over it’s 7-1-2 tear, which is an incredibly eye-popping number considering the quality of results.
It has covered up for the inability to score in those matchups with an unbelievable run in goal from Filip Gustavsson — plus a 4-2-0 record in the whopping six games that went past regulation.
Kirill Kaprizov has factored in on over half of the Wild’s goals throughout this span, and beyond his dominance, the offense has looked extremely stale.
The good news is that Minnesota has shot just 6.09% across all strengths in its last ten. An offensive upswing must be on the horizon as historically no team will hold at that kind of number for too long.
However, the Wild have also seen their goalies produce a .944 save % in those games, which is also incredibly unsustainable. For reference to that point, Linus Ullmark’s .938 save % is .27 greater than Andrei Vasilevskiy’s second-place mark (.919) on the season’s qualified leaderboard.
Minnesota has also confirmed its goalie tonight will be Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been markedly worse than Gustavsson this season. Fleury owns a +1.2 GSAx and .904 save % in 36 appearances.
Vancouver has made it clear it will not opt to commit to a full-blown rebuild, and has taken the route of attempting to acquire young roster players as opposed to prospects and draft selections.
Or in the case of its shocking deal Wednesday, for Red Wings defender Filip Hronek, even paying a first- and second-round pick to try and retool on the fly.
While most Canucks fans are now cheering for losses, new coach Rick Tocchet obviously is not, and his team has competed quite reasonably over its last five outings (3-1-1).
Anthony Beauvillier has fit in well alongside Elias Pettersson on the top line, and has produced at a point per game clip in 11 games with Vancouver. Offensively, the Canucks still have some meaningful upside with Bo Horvat gone, but its defensive core remains a large concern even with Hronek in the mix.
Seeing Thatcher Demko return to top form would greatly stabilize the defensive concerns, as the Canucks have received among the league’s worst netminding this season.
Demko owns awful numbers altogether this season, but he was one of the league’s best starters a year ago and was reportedly fighting through a significant injury in the early going.
Demko made a very positive return in Vancouver’s 5-4 win at Dallas on Monday, playing to a +1.15 GSAx rating despite allowing four goals.
Wild vs. Canucks Pick
Minnesota has had an alarmingly hard time scoring for what has become a large sample, and that is a concern when you are talking about a fairly heavy favorite.
Gustavsson has carried them through this recent stretch to strong results, but that massive strength is out the window with Fleury getting the start.
Vancouver may be far from a good side themselves, but it has some meaningful scoring upside and could potentially see stabilization in goal with Demko back in the mix, which is another excellent note when we are talking about a heavy underdog.
+145 projects to be too long of a number with the likelihood this becomes another closely fought Minnesota game, such as we have seen on a nightly basis recently.
There is a good chance the underdog Canucks surprise and make this a coin flip-type affair, and this is a matchup in which taking that long of a number has lots of merit.
Pick: Vancouver Canucks ML (+145)
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