NHL Betting Preview: Vancouver at Phoenix

By: David Schwab | Monday, March 7, 2011

The Vancouver Canucks will look to expand their lead in the Western Conference standings over Detroit when they face off against the Phoenix Coyotes this Tuesday night at the US Airways Arena. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast regionally on the Fox Sports Network.

Vancouver continues to lead the way in the West with three wins in its last four games including a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday as a 101 road underdog and a 3-0 shutout over Anaheim as a 125 road favorite this past Sunday. The Canucks are now 42-16-9 straight up on the year (32-25 against the spread) with a league-high 93 points. They currently have a seven-point lead over the Red Wings in the conference.

It all begins and ends with the Sedin brothers in terms of offensive production for this team. Daniel has scored 34 goals and is first in the NHL in scoring with 81 points, while Henrik leads the league in assists with 61 and has a third-best 76 total points. Throw in Ryan Kesler’s 33 goals and its little wonder that Vancouver is third in the league in goals-per-game with 3.18.

Defensively, the Canucks have one of the best goalies in the NHL in Roberto Luongo who is allowing 2.21 goals per game with a .925 save percentage in 50 starts. Vancouver is the stingiest team in the league, giving up just 2.24 goals a game. It is ranked second against the power play with an 86.6 percent kill rate.

Phoenix’s eight-game winning streak in early February gave way to a recent five-game slide that was finally snapped with a 5-4 shootout win over Detroit this past Saturday as a 105 home underdog. The up and down nature of this team has left it four points behind San Jose in the Pacific Division and in sixth-place in the West. It is 34-23-10 SU (36-31 ATS) with a total of 78 points.

The Coyotes are averaging 2.79 goals a game and have done a great job at spreading the puck around with nine players scoring 10 or more goals this season. Radim Vrbata, Taylor Pratt and Martin Hanzal lead the way with 16 goals apiece, while defenseman Keith Yandle leads the team in assists with 44.

Ilya Bryzgalov should get the start tonight in goal for Phoenix. He has started 53 of the team’s 67 games this season and has a 2.60 GAA and a save percentage of .917. The Coyotes’ defense is giving up an average of 2.84 goals a game which is ranked 17th in the league. They are ranked near the bottom of the league against the power play with a 77.9 percent kill rate.

Vancouver is 35-19 as a favorite and 7-6 as an underdog. The total has stayed ‘under’ in nine of its last 10 games.

The Canucks might be without winger Mason Raymond for this match.  The Calgary native injured a shoulder in the win at Anaheim on Sunday and is officially listed as questionable.

Phoenix is 16-14 as a favorite and 18-19 as an underdog. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of its last six games and in 55.2 percent of its games this year.

Head-to-head, there two have split this season with the Coyotes winning 3-2 as a 153 home underdog in November and the Canucks rolling to a 6-0 shutout on Feb.2 as a 128 road favorite. The total line for both those games was 5 ½.

This time around Vancouver should open as a mild road favorite and with the way it has been playing lately, remains a solid pick to run its current streak to three with a win in this one.

 
 
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