The Vancouver Canucks are in Minnesota Monday for the first stop on a six day, four-game road trip
Vancouver started March with a seven game road trip but did not get the results they were looking for. A 2-0 win over league-leading St. Louis on Mar. 1 gave good reason for optimism but it was followed by a 2-4 record in past six games.
The Canucks offense hit a serious rough patch in the second-half but they did show signs of life against Phoenix and Columbus, scoring four goals in back-to-back games. Before that the team went eight consecutive games without breaking the three-goal mark and the power play was in funk, with just one goal in 24 chances.
Mason Raymond was moved to the top line with the Sedins but coach Alain Vigneault was not satisfied and he’s decided to sit Raymond down for tonight’s game against the Wild. Alex Burrows is slotted to play wing with Daniel and Henrik and Manny Malhotra is back in the lineup, centering the third line with Samme Pahlsson and Jannik Hansen.
NHL odds for the contest favor Vancouver -196 and it’s a steep price for the road team but Vancouver has won seven of the last eight meetings with Minnesota. Three of those games finished over the total and online sportsbooks offer tonight’s game at 5 Over (-127).
Minnesota’s only points in its past nine games were a 3-2 shootout win at Phoenix (Mar. 8th) and a 5-4 shootout loss at Montreal March 1. The Wild’s scoring has come in bunches but they are inconsistent and since Feb. 28, the team has been shutout four times.
Cory Schneider (16-6-1, 2.12 GAA, .932 SV) is scheduled to start for the second straight game and he is 5-2 against the Wild, including a 5-2 win at the Xcel Energy Center on Mar. 9. Josh Harding (9-10-4, 2.79 GAA, .913 SV) is in for the home side and this will be his first action since suffering a lower body injury in the win over Phoenix.
Harding stopped all 24 shots he faced in that game and will likely have a lot of pucks flying at him tonight as Vancouver tries to get its offense in gear.
The Canucks are 22-10-4 on the road with 16 overs, 15 unders and 5 pushes. Minnesota is 15-15-4 on home ice with a record of 18 overs, 13 unders and 3 draws. The Canucks have an elite group of forwards capable of putting up big numbers on any given night but the moneyline odds on a team that plays so many one-goal games are far too risky. Minnesota is 9-12-1 against the division and gun to our head; we’d go with the home dog for this matchup. Our official play is on the total.
Pick: Take the Over
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