Vancouver Canucks in line for NHL odds sweep

By: Barry Daniels | Monday, April 18, 2011

One more Chicago setback and the NHL will have its defending champion dismissed via a four-game sweep in the first round. The Blackhawks will attempt to avoid that scenario Tuesday night when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

Most sports books monitored by Don Best Sports' Real-Time Odds have opened Vancouver as a 135 road favorite for Game 4, with the total set at five ‘over’ (minus 140).

Versus will supply television coverage as part of a National Hockey League doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. (PT).

Vancouver has Chicago on the brink of elimination thanks to Sunday’s 3-2 victory as 100 road underdogs. The combined five goals landed directly on the closing total, leaving the ‘over/under’ 1-1-1 in the first three games.

Mikael Samuelsson, who missed Game 2 because of the flu, scored the game-winner for the Canucks. The goal came on a rebound at the 6:54 mark of the third period after Corey Crawford had stopped shots by Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Sedin.

Ehrhoff and Daniel Sedin also scored for Vancouver.

Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp had power-play goals for the Blackhawks. Chicago actually took a 1-0 lead in this contest and later had a two-man advantage, but couldn't extend the lead.

Forward Raffi Torres returned to Vancouver’s lineup Sunday after serving a four-game suspension for a hit to the head on Edmonton's Jordan Eberle. However, Torres is again in hot water.

Torres was called for interference after knocking Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook to the ice behind the net with a hard blow. Torres was only given a two-minute penalty, but might be suspended for Game 4 after the league reviews the play.

The Don Best Sports injury report lists Torres and Seabrook (head) as “questionable” for Tuesday’s Game 4. Chicago’s Thomas Kopecky, who hasn’t played since leaving Game 1 with an upper body injury, is also listed as “questionable.

Chicago center Dave Bolland missed the final 14 regular-season games and the first two of the playoffs with a concussion, but he could be ready for Game 4.

Through three games, the Canucks have proven what many suspected heading into this series. They are not the team that lost the last two years in the second round to Chicago. However, the Hawks are definitely not the same team that won the Stanley Cup last June.

The Canucks once again got stellar goaltending from Roberto Luongo, who raised his overall record to 41-15-2-5 with a 2.09 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Corey Crawford took the loss for Chicago and saw his overall ledger slip to 33-21-3-3 with a 2.34 GAA and .916 save percentage.

The Blackhawks outshot the Canucks for the first time in the series, 32-26.

Chicago, which entered the contest by scoring just once in its last 20 power play opportunities, was 2-for-7 with the man advantage in Game 3. Vancouver was 1-for-2. In fact, The Hawks had 8:24 of power play time, compared to just 1:17 for the Canucks.

The Blackhawks had four first-period power plays but converted on just one on a goal from Keith. Luongo had 15 saves in the opening period, with eight occurring during Chicago's power plays. That included three saves when the Blackhawks had the 5-on-3 advantage.

The Hawks have three goals when skating 5-on-5 in this series, but none from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. The Canucks, meanwhile, have seven goals at even-strength in the three games, including a go-ahead goal and the winner Sunday.

The Blackhawks are 0-for-17 in series in which they have fallen behind 3-0.

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