The Vancouver Canucks are deep into minus money as the sportsbooks try to balance out their recent run of success when Eastern Conference teams come into Rogers Arena.
The Canucks opened as -160 home favourites (bet $160 to win $100) on the NHL betting lines for Friday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the New Jersey Devils coming back at +140 and a 6.0-goal total.
According to the OddsShark NHL Database, it is only the third time all season the Canucks have been gone farther into minus money than -150 on home ice. They are also 6-3 in their last nine home games against Eastern Conference teams.
The teams’ only other matchup was December 31 in Newark, with the Devils winning 4-0. The Canucks’ No. 1 goalie, Jacob Markstrom, did not play, while New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves for the shutout.
In their last outing on Wednesday, the Canucks beat the New York Rangers 4-1, with Tyler Motte scoring two goals while Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen tallied once apiece. It was the second game in a row with a goal for Boeser, who’s trying to distance himself from an eight-game goal drought.
The Devils’ last two games on their western road swing have seen a combined 22 goals. Four of the Canucks’ last five home games against Eastern Conference opponents, and eight of the past 13, have finished UNDER. With neither team in serious playoff contention, there is a chance of a relatively a wide-open game that bucks the season-long pattern with both teams.
The Devils have the NHL’s 20th-ranked offense at 2.8 goals per game, while the Canucks rank 25th with 2.7 per game.
New Jersey had seven regulars out, including bright young center Nico Hischier, when it beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 on Wednesday. That result presumably got the attention of the Canucks, who might be close to getting left wing Sven Baertschi (post-concussion syndrome) back in the lineup.
The Canucks, who are nearly at the point of playing for pride, sitting 10 points out of a playoff berth with only 12 games remaining, are completing a three-game homestand. They hit the road for back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and Monday. The Devils, who have the fourth-worst record in the NHL, will complete a six-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.