The Vancouver Canucks continue their home stand tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights. After a lacklustre first two periods against the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night, the Canucks respond with a dominant third period, securing a 3-1 victory.
Elias Pettersson put the team on his back with his defensive play in the first and second periods, killing penalties and stealing the puck in the defensive zone. Pettersson turned his offensive game on in the third, scoring the go-ahead and eventual game-winning wrap-around goal.
Tonight marks a pivotal game for both teams, as the winner will sit atop the Pacific division. While this is where the Golden Knights usually sit in the division standings, this is an opportunity the Canucks haven’t seen since January 2020.
The Vancouver Canucks look for some consistency tonight as they’re in a six-game pattern of losing one game and winning the next. After their win over the Ducks, they now have an 8-1-1 home record, which ranks as the best in the league.
The Golden Knights come into tonight on a three-game skid, only winning three of their last ten games. Vegas will be without two of their top four defencemen, with Alec Martinez and Shea Theodore both out with injuries.
Historically, the Golden Knights have outplayed the Canucks, winning twelve of seventeen regular season games. Lately, the Canucks have found some success against their division rival, winning three of the last five head-to-head matchups.
When these two teams face off, we’re used to seeing lots of goals, but the Golden Knights have had a hard time reaching the 6.5 total line. They have only eclipsed this line in three of their last ten games.
The Canucks sit as a slight moneyline favourite (-125). This line makes sense with the recent struggles of the Golden Knights. I would lean toward the Canucks on the money line tonight.
Thatcher Demko Over 26.5 Saves
Thatcher Demko has been a brick wall this season, with an 11-5 record and two shutouts. The Canucks goaltender sits top three in both goals against average and save percentage of qualified starting goalies.
The American goaltender has had 27+ saves in nine of sixteen games this season, averaging 26.4 saves per game. On home ice, he’s covered this line in six of his last seven, averaging 29 saves per game.
Diving further into Demko’s charts, of his last eight wins, he’s cleared in seven of those eight and six straight on home ice. With the Canucks slight favourites, it looks like sportsbooks are siding with Demko earning his twelfth win on the season.
The Golden Knights never shy away from peppering the Canuck goaltender with shots. Demko has covered this line in five of his last six against his division rival, averaging 31.5 saves per game.
The Golden Knights shot volume has increased over the last twenty days compared to their season average. Vegas, on the year, averages 31.6 shots on goal per game. Recently, that average has jumped up to 35.4 shots on goal per game, ranking as the second most shots in the league over that span.
Rick Tocchet’s team has bought in and has seen tiny improvements to being a more defensive team this season. The Canucks are averaging 29.8 shots against compared to 30.8 shots against last season.
Expect the Vezina candidate to continue his dominance in a big game against a familiar foe. I’ll be adding 0.5 units on his 30+ saves at +170 odds.
Alex Pietrangelo Point
Alex Pietrangelo has failed to record in eight straight games but is still averaging 0.5 points per game this season. Pietrangelo has found success in Rogers Arena, recording six points on his four-game point streak in this building.
With Theodore out of the lineup tonight, Pietrangelo takes over the offensive defenceman role on the top-line powerplay unit. Pietrangelo recorded a point in 55% of his games last year without his defensive teammate.
The Golden Knights assistant captain saw his minutes increase from 22.9 with Theodore to 26 minutes without him. We should see the Canadians get similar ice time in what looks to be a potential division-tilting game tonight.
Best Bet Summary:
Thatcher Demko Over 26.5 Saves (-104) for 1 unit.
Thatcher Demko 30+ Saves (+170) for 0.5 unit.
Alex Pietrangelo Point (+120) for 0.5 unit.
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Last Game Recap: 1-2 -0.83 units
All Time Record: 12-12 -1.43 units.