Vancouver Canucks (0-0-0) at San Jose Sharks (0-0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 3, 2013, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: San Jose Sharks -130 / Vancouver Canucks +118 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Sharks and Canucks renew hostilities as San Jose hosts Vancouver to kick off the 2013-14 NHL season for these Western Conference powers.
The Vancouver Canucks succumbed to yet another playoff debacle last year as they were once again ousted prematurely leading the subsequent firing of head coach Alain Vigneault and the hiring of controversial and brash head coach John Tortorella. Vancouver has often been criticized for being a soft team, namely their top two players in Henrik and Daniel Sedin and while it isn’t the only guarantee that Torts has brought to the table he has claimed that the Sedin’s will be more physical and tougher to play against. Vancouver also made a splash at the draft as they traded away former starting goaltender Corey Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for a draft pick that ended up being London Knights forward Bo Horvat, meaning they’re all in on Roberto Luongo this season. The Canucks still maintain a large portion of their team’s core from the past few seasons so there will be a lot of chemistry and I expect that the Canucks under Tortorella will be a much tougher team to play against physically.
San Jose meanwhile continues to succeed in the Western Conference despite getting older each and every season and until they show signs of slowing down it’ll be tough to pick against them. Antii Niemi is one of the most underrated goalies in the league and he gives the Sharks a very good chance to win every night, even against a team like Vancouver who has so much offensive depth. The Sharks are led by Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Logan Couture up front who got off to a blistering start last season and will be looking for an equally impressive outing heading into this season. While the Sharks may have the home ice factor playing a role here I really like the value on the Canucks in this spot as I think they’re a better team from top to bottom than the Sharks and I think they’ll respond nicely to Tortorella in the team’s first game in their working relationship. Take the Canucks as a road dog.