A Western Conference Showdown is on tap for this Saturday as the Vancouver Canucks will look to hand the Dallas Stars a six straight loss head-to-head. Join us for our NHL odds series where our Canucks-Stars prediction and pick will be revealed.
Although Vancouver's playoff chances are grim, the Canucks have come out victorious in three of their last four games and have improved their overall record to 32-34-5 as they attempt to climb back to the .500 mark. The last time out on the ice, the Canucks put it to the San Jose Sharks in a 7-2 rout.
Currently leading the Central Division by one point while possessing a 39-19-14 record, there is no question that the Stars have championship aspirations. However, there is something about this Vancouver team that Dallas hasn't been able to get over the top against. Nevertheless, Dallas was still able to prevail most recently against the Penguins by a score of 3-2.
Here are the Canucks-Stars NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Canucks-Stars Odds
Vancouver Canucks: +1.5 (-146)
Dallas Stars: -1.5 (+122)
Over: 6.5 (-104)
Under: 6.5 (-118)
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Time: 7:00 ET/4:o0 PT
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Why The Canucks Could Cover The Spread
Throughout the course of the season, the Canucks have not been a very stellar defensive team, but something has clicked for Vancouver over the last handful of games on that side of the ice. As a whole, they surrender on average 3.68 scores per game, but have only allowed more than three goals only once since Feb. 27th. Since they are going up against a Dallas squad that loves to score the puck more often than not, planning a strategy that involves a strong defensive presence will prove to be crucial. Alas, all eyes will be fixed upon goaltender Thatcher Demko who will need to be on his A game in order to help his team cover the spread. On paper, Demko's numbers don't jump out at you, but he will be the biggest difference-maker by far if the Canucks are going to continue their winning ways.
Most importantly, can this Canucks offense do enough to make it a game? This is a unit that isn't flashy by any means, but they will need to get some good looks offensively against one of the top goalies in the game. The biggest area of concern for Vancouver is their dead-last penalty-killing unit which has struggled mightily as they prevent scores only 69% of the time. Without a doubt, the Canucks cannot afford to go to the penalty box given how poor they are in preventing other teams from scoring on the extra-man advantage.
Why The Stars Could Cover The Spread
Unlike the Canucks, the Stars are a handful of teams around the league that could find themselves hoisting the Stanley Cup when it is all said and done. In fact, the most impressive part of Dallas' game is hands down their goaltending prowess coming in the form of the 24-year-old Jake Oettinger. At first glance, Oettinger has posted top-ten statistics in nearly almost every goaltending category including the fifth-best record among goalies as he has also recorded four shutouts with roughly ten games to go in the season.
Clearly, Oettinger will be the first line of defense in the Stars attempt to finally down the Canucks, but no other Dallas skater has endured as successful of a year as left-winger Jason Robertson. Believe it or not, the dynamic forward has posted team-highs with 41 goals to go along with 50 assists. Enduring a breakout season, to say the least, Robertson remains one of the more productive skaters in all of the NHL this season and has recorded six points in his last three games combined.
Most importantly, throughout the course of Dallas' five-game losing streak and in the pair of games played this season, the Stars haven't forced enough pressure defensively to take the Canucks out of their element. Alas, Vancouver has scored five goals in each contest this season and hasn't found it very difficult to abuse the Stars defense. If Dallas can't figure out a way to force turnovers and make life difficult for Vancouver when they have possession of the puck, then they may be in for another long day.
Final Canucks-Stars Prediction & Pick
No question, the Canucks have had the Stars number of late, but bank on the fact that Dallas rights their wrongs as they'll come out of the gates as the more desperate team.
Final Canucks-Stars Prediction & Pick: Stars -1.5 (+122)