Sharks at Canucks Game 1 Odds and Predictions – Free NHL Picks 5-15-11

Free NHL Playoffs Picks and Odds – Game 1 San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks Favorite, Moneyline, Total and Predictions 5/15/11: The San Jose Sharks watched as they gave up their three game series lead to the Detroit Red Wings, but only to win an exciting game 7 tilt. The series looked all but over after the Sharks wrapped up an overtime victory in game 3, but the Wings surged back with hard work and determination and forced the deciding affair. The Wings exposed the Sharks carefree approach to the back check and forced the Sharks to commit some careless penalties. But in the end, it was mighty Joe Thornton who led his club in game 7 to victory by providing one of his most brilliant performances of his career. It will take the type of passion and determination that Thornton played with in game 7 to get by the Vancouver Canucks in the western conference finals. The Sharks have not faired well against the presidents trophy winners from this seasons past, they dropped 3 of 4 games in the regular season and gave up 16 goals in those 4 outings. It will be imperative for the Sharks to being each game hot and seek out the first tally, in the three losses they accumulated this year to the Canucks they fell behind early in each of those tilts. The fact that the Canucks currently own home ice advantage in this series does not alter the mind set of the Sharks one bit, in fact San Jose has performed quite admirably on the road all season long. The x-factor to these series will be goaltender Antti Niemmi, he will need to have the series of his life and lead his team to the Stanley Cup Finals. He has been shaky at times this postseason, but has also flashed some brilliance.

Next up, the San Jose Sharks. The Vancouver Canucks have gotten by two clubs that have posed them problems for many years now in the Chicago Blackhawk’s and the Nashville Predators, but will now enter a series against a team that have held a margin of victory over for the past few campaigns. The Canucks have owned the Sharks at home and on the road for the past three seasons and feel quite confident that they can improve this stat on way to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. It took 6 outings, but the Canucks earned a little bit of time off after they disposed of the Predators last week. The series exposed a few glaring needs that the club needs to focus on heading into tonight’s opening tilt with the Sharks. The Canucks were caught several times throughout their second round affair giving up off man rushes. The reason for this trend was due to the fact that players were taking line changes at inopportune moments, defensemen getting caught in a pinch, and poor transitional offense. It will be imperative for the Canucks to reverse this misfortune in time for tonight as the Sharks feast on neutral zone turnovers. One thing the Canucks can feel fortunate about after their second round win is that Ryan Kesler is finally charged and ready now. After the first series Kesler had no goals to show for and he was receiving plenty of scrutiny for that stat. But the second round series saw the all-star forward heat up and he is without a doubt the best player on the ice for the Canucks on each given night.

Tonight we will recommend a play on the Vancouver Canucks to open up the western conference finals. The Sharks are coming off of a grueling and frustrating 7 game series with the Detroit Red Wings, they are tired and banged up. San Jose now has to play the Canucks in their barn to open up the west finals, not the best ingredients for an upset bid. Vancouver has owned the Sharks this entire season, and although this is supposed to be a new season, I expect the Canucks to improve this stat tonight. Roberto Lulongo is determined to hoist the cup this year, he will be ready to challenge the speedy Sharks forwards for three periods tonight. Vancouver is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games and have benefited from the extra time off since their game 6 victory in the music city. We will consider the Canucks skating to a hard earned game 1 victory tonight in front of their boisterous Rogers Arena crowd. Cheers!

Free Pick: Vancouver Canucks -155(Moneyline)
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GAME 1 San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks
Date: 5/15/2011
Time: 8:05 PM EST
Televison: VERSUS
2011 NHL Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals Series: (Best of 7 Series: Tied 0-0)
Vegas Odds
Favorite: Vancouver Canucks -155(moneyline) Total: Over/Under 5.5
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