Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins - 1/7/14
Pittsburgh Penguins (31-12-1) at Vancouver Canucks (23-13-8)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 10:00 pm (Rogers Arena)
The Line: Vancouver Canucks -116 / Pittsburgh Penguins +105 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
Those of us on the East Coast will have to stay up a little later on Tuesday in order to see one of the best games of the night. The Pittsburgh Penguins, depleted with injuries and running a roster of no names out their in their bottom six, continue to find ways to win hockey games. At 31-12-1 the Penguins are cruising along in the Metropolitan Division despite being without players like Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, and James Neal to name a few. The biggest key for Pittsburgh is the fact that Sidney Crosby remains healthy and has shown no ill effects from the head injuries he's suffered in the past. Crosby still looks like the most dynamic player in the league and he continues to produce like that as well. Crosby recorded just one point in Sunday's 6-5 victory over the Winnipeg Jets but it gives him 63 for the season, nine more than the next closest player. Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff have been fantastic this year in goal for the Penguins and it looks like Pittsburgh is going to cruise to a division title. The new playoff format will be interesting to see and everyone will be waiting to see if the Penguins have what it takes to get through a seven game series this season. Interestingly enough that's the exact reason why John Tortorella was brought in to coach the Vancouver Canucks this summer. Vancouver has been notorious for putting up big regular seasons like the Penguins, only to fall short come playoff time. After their debacle in the first round last year the Canucks parted ways with Alain Vigneault and brought in Tortorella to make this team tougher. At 23-13-8 the Canucks haven't been bad this year but they're playing in a loaded division and they're going to be in a battle to make the playoffs this year. Right now though the ship is going through some choppy waters because the Canucks have lost four straight games heading into Tuesday night's tilt. Vancouver is giving up a lot of goals over that stretch, 15 total to be exact, and that's not something that's going to make Tortorella very happy. The Vancouver head coach preaches the importance of defense and when you're giving up three or four goals every game you're not going to win a lot of hockey games. Vancouver will be challenged again in this one with a Penguins team coming to town that can really light the lamp despite all of their injuries. With the way these two teams have been playing of late don't be surprised to see some points put up on the board.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport