NHL Betting Preview: Desperate Canucks Visit Playoff-Bound Wild

Vancouver hasn't lost in regulation time this month and will be trying to keep its playoff hopes alive
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Vancouver Canucks @ Minnesota Wild — April 21

Line: Canucks (+150) and Wild (-180) — PointsBet

Total: 6

Head-to-head: It’s the third and final meeting between the teams this season. The Wild won 3-2 in overtime in Minnesota on March 24, and also prevailed by the same score (except in regulation time) over the Canucks on Oct. 26 in Vancouver.

About the Canucks (38-28-11): It’s quite simply do-or-die time for the Canucks, who are fighting for their playoff lives. Vancouver took a six-game winning streak into Tuesday’s matchup with the lowly Ottawa Senators, but it fell 4-3 in a shootout. Although the team picked up a valuable point in the standings with the loss, it’ll have to essentially win all five of its remaining regular-season games to have a shot at hunting down the Dallas Stars, who had a four-point advantage over the Canucks heading into action Wednesday night.

At 5-on-5, the Canucks permitted 3.58 expected goals against in Tuesday’s loss, which is tied for their worst defensive performance at even strength this season, according to The Athletic‘s Thomas Drance. They especially struggled when the defensive pairing of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tyler Myers weren’t on the ice.

However, Vancouver is undefeated in regulation time over its last eight games and is averaging a hearty 4.1 goals per game while allowing just 2.4 goals per game over its last 10 contests. Expect the Canucks to empty the tank and leave it all on the ice in this one as their season hangs in the balance.

Canucks players to watch: Elias Pettersson has collected seven goals and seven assists over the last seven games. J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes have each recorded one goal and seven assists over the last four games.

About the Wild (48-21-7): The Wild have won five of their last six games and have collected at least a point in each of their last seven contests. Minnesota has already clinched a playoff berth, but it is still jockeying for position in the Central Division standings with the St. Louis Blues. Both teams have 103 points on the season, and they are destined to meet in the first round of the playoffs. The Wild do have a game in hand, though, in the pursuit of home advantage over the Blues. The Wild’s 48 wins and 103 points are the most they’ve had through 76 games in franchise history.

Goaltender Cam Talbot posted his third shutout of the season Tuesday vs. the Montreal Canadiens and is on quite the impressive run despite splitting the net with veteran Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot hasn’t lost in regulation in 14 consecutive games and is just one win shy of 200 for his career. Minnesota hasn’t yet announced its starting goaltender for Thursday’s tilt with the Canucks, although it’s likely Talbot gets the nod again coming off Tuesday’s shutout.

Minnesota has been outstanding at home this year, posting a 27-7-2 record. And like the Canucks, pucks have been finding the back of the net for the Wild, who are averaging 3.9 goals per game over their last 10 contests overall.

Both Vancouver and Minnesota have been awful on the penalty kill, so power-play goals could be abundant. The Canucks have killed just 73.7% of their penalties (31st in the NHL), while the Wild have killed penalties only 75.7% (24th) of the time.

Wild players to watch: Kevin Fiala has seven goals and seven assists in the last seven games. Frederick Gaudreau has three goals and five helpers in the last five games.

Sports betting trends:

  • Road team is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
  • Canucks have won six straight vs. Western Conference opponents.
  • The over is 5-0-2 in Vancouver’s last seven games.
  • The Wild are 41-11 in their last 52 games as a home favorite.
  • The over is 34-16-1 in Minnesota’s last 51 home games.

Photo by Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports.

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