The Jets tangle with the Canucks on Friday night in the first of a two-game set in Vancouver and are hoping to rebound after dropping two of their last three. Let’s analyze this North Division matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!
Winnipeg Jets vs. Vancouver Canucks
Friday, February 19, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Rogers Arena
Mark Scheifele and Neal Pionk lit the lamp for the Jets but it was not enough, as the Jets fell, 3-2, to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night in what was a chippy game throughout. Winnipeg was whistled for six penalties but their penalty-killing unit was able to kill five of those opportunities with the only exception being Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl’s second-period tally that put the Oilers in front 3-1.
Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck had faced a 45-shot barrage in the previous game where the Jets’ held on to win a 6-5 decision. However, he may have been a bit weary on Wednesday night, as I speculated in my article https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nhl/jets-oilers-nhl-picks-predictions/175677/, and predicted the Oilers would come away with a victory because of it.
Hellebuyck is an outstanding goalie but everyone needs a breather, so while allowing three goals in 30 shots is not anything to be ashamed of, it is not the elite caliber play we have become accustomed to from the 27-year-old former Vezina Trophy winner.
Canucks Offense Awakes
After losing seven of their last eight, due in large part to an offensive power outage and sloppy defense, the Canucks finally caught fire and defeated the Flames, 5-1, in Calgary on Wednesday
night. Brock Boeser notched a goal and two assists in the victory and leads the team with 12 goals and nine helpers in 20 games this season.
“I like to score when our team’s winning,” Boeser said. “It feels so much better when you do that.
“Just for our team to play a complete game tonight, it’s huge for us.”
Goaltender Brandon Holtby signed a two-year, $8.6 million pact with the Canucks before the season began, ending his 10-year tenure in Washington. But his play has been inconsistent with his new club as evidenced by his 4-5 record, 3.44 goals-against average, and .896 save percentage over nine starts.
However, Holtby found the mojo that made him one of the league’s top netminders during his time with the Capitals when he turned aside 35 of 36 shots in the team’s 5-1 win. It was his first win since January 28th when he stopped 36 of 37 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Senators.
Wanna Make a Bet?
The last time these teams played, the Canucks prevailed in a 4-1 decision back on January 30th. It was the first and only game between the teams thus far but that will all change very soon as these North Division rivals will be facing off four times over the next two weeks starting on Friday night. According to the NHL odds, we see that Vancouver is ranging anywhere between a -108 to a -116 home favorite at the time of this writing.
And while it might be a bit curious to find the Canucks as favorites against a Winnipeg team that has a better record (9-6-1 vs. 8-11-1) and bests them in three of the four major categories (3.44 vs. 3.05 goals scored per game, 2.81 vs. 3.60 goals allowed per game, 23.1% vs. 17.1% power-play success), we should note that the Canucks put together a four-game winning streak before this most recent slide that saw them beating their opponents, one of which was Winnipeg, by an average margin of 5-1.
The bottom line in all of this is that Vancouver is a much better team than their record indicates and their goaltending has to get better because it can’t get much worse. Brandon Holtby will get it together and I’m hoping he is tending the twine tonight for the Canucks because the verdict is still out on his platoon-mate, Thatcher Demko.
There is also a chance we may see Winnipeg’s backup, Laurent Brossoit, between the pipes tonight to give Connor Hellebuyck a rest. That would be a major win for us but if that does happen, the odds on the Canucks will certainly rise at all of the best online sportsbooks so get down early on the slightly favored home team – the Vancouver Canucks!
NHL Pick: Canucks -110 at Bet365