Vancouver Canucks (45-27-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (46-24-6)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 2, 2015, 8:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -164 / Vancouver Canucks +148 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Despite the absence of Ryan Miller in their lineup the Vancouver Canucks just keep finding ways to win hockey games.
After a disastrous season one year ago the Canucks have turned things around quickly under first year coach Willie Desjardins.
Vancouver is looking like they’re sitting pretty comfortably with a seven point lead over the Los Angeles Kings and five games remaining on their schedule. A potential first round match up with the rival Calgary Flames could be awaiting in the opening round if the Flames can do their part.
The Canucks have bounced back after their two game losing streak and picked up two huge road wins in St. Louis against the Blues and in Nashville on Tuesday night against the Predators as they look to continue their winning ways on this road trip.
Things didn’t start out well for the Canucks, as Nashville scored twice in the opening period to take a 2-0 lead with them into the intermission. Vancouver would respond in the second, getting goals from Linden Vey and Jannik Hansen to even the score before watching Nashville score with just 30 seconds remaining to regain the lead.
Goals like the one the Predators scored late in a period can be back breakers a lot of the time, especially for a club that had to fight back from a two goal deficit already. Instead the Canucks just kept on coming, and it paid off in a big way.
Alexandre Burrows scored shorthanded early in the third period to tie the game, and Chris Higgins cashed in with the Canucks on the power play to give them their first lead of the game. Eddie Lack couldn’t hold it however, and the Predators would score with just over five minutes remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
After a scoreless five minute period it was Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbata scoring in the shootout to lift the Canucks to a huge 5-4 win. Lack finished the game with 34 saves on the night.
Their opponent on Thursday night will be a Chicago Blackhawks club that helped the Canucks out by defeating the Kings on Sunday night.
Despite being on the second night of a back-to-back, Chicago out played the Kings for much of the night in a game that Los Angeles needed desperately. Bryan Bickell’s 13th goal of the season opened the scoring for the Hawks before the Kings tied things up late in the first period. Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson scored second period goals and Marian Hossa finished things off with his 22nd of the year in the third. Scott Darling made the start in net and stopped 31 shots to pick up the win.
Chicago is the better club from top to bottom but Vancouver is finding ways to win games right now. The Blackhawks are favored in this one but there’s some value with the Canucks with the way they’ve been playing.