Power play goals got the San Jose Sharks in a position where they could level the Western Conference Finals in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon. It was power play goals for the Vancouver Canucks that put them one game away from their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1994. Can San Jose survive Game 5 at Rogers Arena on Tuesday night? Check out our free hockey picks here at Bang the Book!
The Sharks are just in a world of trouble in this series. They need to post a comeback from down 3-1 in this series against arguably the best team in the league, and they might need to do so without Joe Thornton, who suffered a head injury on Sunday night. To make matters worse, they have to be totally deflated right now. They spent 10 of the first 24 minutes of the game on the power play in Game 4 at home and had absolutely nothing to show for it. Yet in a span of four minutes in the second period, they committed four penalties and ended up conceding three goals, and they never really did recover from that. Sure, the Sharks put up the last two goals of the game, but it is clear that Antti Niemi is just overmatched by this Vancouver offense, which has scored 17 goals in this series and is clearly clicking on all cylinders. Dany Heatley has been completely MIA over the course of the last few weeks, and men like Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, and the aforementioned Thornton have just been nowhere to be found either.
Of course, it is becoming more and more clear that when the Sedin brothers are on, no one is stopping them. These two spent a heck of a lot of time on the ice together on the power play on Sunday, especially in the second period, and they really made that ice time pay off. No, neither one of them actually ended up lighting the lamp, but they had their hands in on all four of the Vancouver goals for the game. Henrik Sedin assisted on all four goals. Daniel Sedin assisted on three of the four. Everyone else around them just becomes a lot better when they are working in such stellar tandem together, and when you combine all of that with the great goaltending prowess of Roberto Luongo, you have yourself one heck of a team that just isn’t going down easily. The Canucks are clearly the odds on favorites right now to beat the Stanley Cup odds, and we don’t expect to see them giving that distinction up any time in the near future.
San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks Pick: The Sharks are just overmatched here, and they look like a defeated team. There aren’t really any facets of the game that you can point at any say that they have the edge in this series. And, the truth of the matter is that decades of losing are weighing on this team. San Jose just doesn’t have that heart of a champion to be able to battle back from this deficit. Instead, Vancouver will rule the day. Be sure to go with the Canucks -160 in Game 5 to finish off this series.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.