Vancouver and San Jose meet in the first round of the playoffs in both teams are hoping that this time they would be more successful in postseason. Their head to head record in 2013 is inconclusive and things could go either way depending on who wins the opening game.
Match: Vancouver vs San Jose
Odds: William Hill 2.10
The Canucks eventually won their division but that’s not something to brag about, as the Northwest division was one of the weakest the season. Vancouver capitalized on some stellar home ice games, but struggled on the road and that’s why it is mandatory for them to kick start their post-season campaign with a victory. They need to decide whether they will start with Luongo or Schneider in the net, with the former being more experienced while the latter being in better form. Schneider is also trying to shake off an injury that kept him off the ice for a few games, but appears to be fit to play.
San Jose put up an impressive string of victories in April and finished on the sixth place, so they will play four out of seven games on the road. The Sharks won most of the points in front of the fans and lost 2/3 games away from home, which explains why they are regarded as underdogs in Canada. At a first glance it might look like San Jose has the better offensive squad, with three lines capable of disrupting the otherwise exact Canadian defensive.
None of these teams is famous for coming from behind and winning the series after losing the opening game, so those who take the early lead are very likely to advance to the next stage. William Hill prices Vancouver at odds of 2.10 to win in regulation time, high enough to convince punters to take a leap of faith with the Canucks.