Sharks vs. Canucks Preview

san jose sharks vs vancouver canucks nhl odds nhl preview nhl betting information nhl playoffs antti niemi roberto luongo joe thornton henrik sedin

VANCOUVER, B.C. (AP) - Fairly or not, Vancouver and San Jose face off in the Western Conference finals as perennial playoff underachievers. Fairly or not, it's a label only one team - and several star players - will shed with a long awaited chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

View Current Vancouver Canucks Odds

With trophy cases full of awards as the NHL's top team, scorers and players in the regular season, the Sharks and Canucks are mirror images of each other.

``We both had good regular seasons for a few years now. We've both been building towards something, the core group has stayed relatively the same, and we both have similar labels as teams that have good regular seasons, but haven't been able to make it in the playoffs,'' Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Canucks -172 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Sharks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 51% of more than 1,398 bets for this game have been placed on the Sharks +158.

The Sharks have come closer of late, getting to the Western Conference finals a second straight season, but are still looking for their first trip to the Cup finals. Vancouver has played for the Stanley Cup twice in 40 years, but Game 1 on Sunday will be its first trip to the NHL's final four since 1994.

Both teams flirted with ghosts of playoffs past by almost blowing 3-0 series leads - Vancouver to nemesis Chicago in the first round, and San Jose to Detroit in the last round - before recovering to win pressure-packed Game 7s. But both sides also know that isn't enough to shed a reputation for tight collars in the postseason; that only one trophy - the Stanley Cup - will end that talk.

They even reference each other when discussing it.

``(San Jose defenseman Dan) Boyle said it best: Until you actually win you are always going to have that label as a team and as an organization,'' Bieksa said.

And as players.

Much of the focus for past playoff failure has fallen on the top players for both teams. In San Jose, captain Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have both been called out for failing to raise their games in the playoffs after continued success in the regular season.

``We have this anchor that everybody throws at us either fairly or unfairly,'' San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. ``We don't worry about that.

The Sharks' top duo answered some of the critics in Game 7 against Detroit on Thursday night. Thornton, who won the league scoring title and MVP awards in 2006, dominated the first period, and Marleau scored the winning goal - his first point of the series - with 7:47 left to play.

Still, the first questions as they prepared to board a flight for Vancouver after practice Saturday focused on San Jose's past playoff letdowns.

``The only way you get rid of that is to move on,'' Marleau said. ``It would be nice, you put in a lot of sweat and everything, to get a little bit of recognition.''

Which must sound familiar to Vancouver's top-line twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

The Sedins won the last two NHL scoring titles, a first for brothers, Henrik was selected the league MVP last year, and Daniel is a finalist this season. But both are under the microscope after struggling late in the first round against Chicago, and against Nashville throughout. Rather than the series-clinching goal they combined on to finish the Predators, the focus is on a combined minus-16 playoff rating.

``They've gone through the same things as we have,'' Daniel said. ``They've been getting a lot of criticism but they've been to the conference final two years in a row, which I think is pretty good.''

So did brother Henrik, who argued that was the difference between the teams.

``They've had a top team for a number of years,'' he said. ``We've never felt this good about our team for a long time so for us this is maybe the first year where we thought we were a contender.''

If that was an attempt to play down the Canucks status, San Jose coach Todd McLellan wasn't buying it. He pointed out Vancouver won the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top regular-season team, and led the league in goals, goals-against, power play and faceoffs, and was second in penalty killing.

``We've got to play to the underdog role, McLellan said. ``I think it will allow us to play free.

Free from the burden of expectations, perhaps. But only a win will erase the labels.

Bet On Sharks vs. Canucks Odds

Want More From Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or Subscribe to Our News Feeds!

Bet on The Stanley Cup and

NBA Playoffs With Bodog

Get Your Message In Front of

Thousands of Sports Fans Now

At SBG Global For New Players

Bet MLB, NHL, NBA and More!

Live Odds, Scores, Injuries

And More - 14 Day Free Trial!

Recent NHL Discussions

How many more are like this on Wed, Mar 2021 by Surfer
Saturday Sharp Action NHL on Sat, Jan 2021 by Jimmythegreek
NHL STARS on Wed, Sep 2020 by iceman17
Chicago Blackhawks on Sat, Aug 2020 by Surfer

NHL Predictions & Picks

Thumbnail Red Wings vs. Lightning Prediction The Lightning are heavily favored on Tuesday night against the Red Wings at 7:00 p.m. ET, but is there betting value to be found in the total? The number currently sits...
Thumbnail Blues vs. Rangers Prediction & Odds The Blues continue to look for consistency this season, which might be difficult when they visit the Rangers at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail Wild vs. Stars Prediction & Odds The Wild have played well over their last 10 games but will they meet their match on Sunday when they take on the Stars in Dallas at 3:00...
Thumbnail Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Prediction The over has been profitable in previous meetings between the Maple Leafs and Lightning, who will clash in Tampa, FL on Saturday night at...
Thumbnail Senators vs. Rangers Prediction & Odds Even though the value has been sucked out of the line, is the under still a wise play in Friday night’s matchup between the Senators and Rangers at 7:00 p.m. ET?

NHL Headlines