If the Canucks are planning to make another Stanley Cup run, they’ve surely got the right mindset going. While many of the teams in the Western Conference slump as the playoffs approach, the Canucks have reeled off seven straight wins.

They’re two points up on the second place St. Louis Blues and with a win on Thursday, they can clinch the top seed. They might not get much resistance from the Calgary Flames who’ve lost three straight and eight of their last nine games. 

Thursday, April 5th

NHL Odds: Canucks -150 

 

The Vancouver Canucks can win because… 

They simply own this series. Vancouver has won 10 of the last 13 matchups, which also includes five wins in their last six trips to Calgary. Truth be told, the Flames have been in much better shape in most of those matchups than they are right now. 

Mikael SammuelsonCalgary has dropped eight of nine and it’s not going to be a pretty offseason for them. There are already questions surrounding head coach Brent Sutter as well as what to do with veterans like Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff and Jay Bouwmeester. With the focus already on the offseason, it’s hard to trust the Flames to spring an upset on Thursday.

It’s not just that the Flames have lost eight of nine; the bigger concern is that they haven’t even been close in many of the games. They’ve been outscored 26-14 over that span and it doesn’t figure to get much better on Thursday. 

Kiprusoff is expected in net and he’s got a paltry 2-7-0 record with a 4.47 GAA in his last 10 starts against the Vancouver Canucks

The Calgary Flames can win because… 

They have played Vancouver tough this season. Although the Canucks are the top seed in the West and the Flames are all the way down in 11th place, the season series has actually been pretty close. The Flames lost the first two meetings but then won the next two. The two squads met up for a fifth time last Saturday in Vancouver and the Canucks required overtime to notch the win. 

The Canucks are once again having issues in net, which seems like a problem that simply will not be put to rest. Roberto Luongo was chased – again – in his latest start, giving up four goals on 15 shots in 27:03 of action against Anaheim before getting pulled. Backup Cory Schneider once again saved the day. 

The truth about Vancouver is that their team confidence heavily relies on goaltending. When Luongo lets them down, the team seems to collectively droop their heads. With the situation in limbo once again, the Canucks might be a risky bet.

Outlook & NHL betting prediction: 

The Flames have nothing to play for in this spot and they’re facing a team that gives them plenty of problems. Vancouver has the better weapons, they’ve got the better overall team and they’re fighting to secure the top spot in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Calgary’s focus is on the offseason and how to rebuild. Lay the juice with the Canucks. 

NHL Picks: Canucks

Today is a big day on the ice, so be sure to check out all my NHL picks for tonight.