Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#929 Vancouver Canucks vs.
#930 Boston Bruins
Sunday, November 28, 2021 at 7:05pm EST
TD Garden, Boston
Written by Nathaniel Reeves

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The Vancouver Canucks will look to break out of a recent slide when they visit the Boston Bruins on Sunday night at TD Garden. Vancouver is struggling at 6-13-2 and took another loss on Friday night by a 4-2 final on the road to the Columbus Blue Jackets as a +126 underdog. Boston is coming off a 5-2 home loss to the New York Rangers on Friday as a a -166 favorite, and is now 10-7 for the season.

These teams split two meetings in the shortened 2020 season, with each winning once on home ice. Boston has dominated the all-time series 78-37-15 including a victory in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.

Canucks lose for eighth time in nine games

It's been a massive struggle for the Canucks, who fell into last place with a loss at Columbus on Friday night after faltering in the third period. Vasily Podzolkin tied the score at one late in the first before Tyler Motte added another in the final two minutes of the second, but Columbus responded with a dominant third period including the game-winning goal with under seven to go.

Justin Dowling, Quinn Hughes and Alex Chiasson all recorded assists on the season. Thatcher Demko stopped 17 of 20 attempts faced, as the Canucks held a massive 41-21 advantage in total shots but just could not break through, including going 0/2 on the power play.

"It's hard. There's no way around it, but the only way is through," Tyler Motte said to NHL.com. "No one's feeling sorry for us. No one's going to help us out. The guys in the room have got to figure it out. We have to find a way to be better and win hockey games. That's the bottom line."

The Canucks are only 9-12 on the puck line, and are down a huge amount on the money line for the season. Overs are 7-12 for the Canucks after last Friday's game snapped a run of three straight unders.

Vancouver's offense has been a disappointment with an average of 2.33 goals and 33.38 shots per game. After struggling badly last season, the Canucks defense is again one of the worst in the NHL with an average of 3.33 goals and 31.42 shots allowed per game.

J.T. Miller has been Vancouver's most productive players with seven goals and 12 assists. Hughes now has a team-high 13 assists and has scored twice, while Bo Hovart is off to a solid start with six goals and five assists. Demko has been a bright spot, putting up a 3.07 goals against average and .904 save percentage.

Winger Matthew Highmore left a game in late October with an undisclosed injury and remains out. Center Brandon Sutter (illness), winger Michael Ferland (undisclosed) and defenseman Brady Keeper (leg)

Bruins hope to recover from awful third period

An uneven start to the season continued in a nationally televised game for the Bruins on Friday afternoon as they were unable to keep up down the stretch. Craig Smith opened the scoring early in the first period and the Bruins had another lead midway through the second thanks to Patrice Bergeron, but the Rangers scored three times over the final nine minutes of the game.

Brad Marchand and Matt Grzelcyk each had an assist, while Jeremey Swayman made 26 stops including a couple of highlight-reel stick saves. The Bruins slightly carried the run of play with a 36-31 advantage in shots, but were hurt by going 0-3 on the power play.

"No concern at all," Marchand said of the inconsistency to NHL.com. "It's early in the year. We have a lot of new faces in our group. It's a different year for us, a lot different from what we've had in a long time where we have to build something again. Whereas before we had such little turnover, whoever came in just kind of fit into the group. Everything was already established."

The Bruins have not been as effective on the puck line at 7-10 for the season, and are down a good chunk on the money line for the season already for the season. Overs are 10-7 for the Bruins, with six of their last seven games going over the betting total.

Boston is still waiting for the offense to totally get going, with the Bruins averaging 3.11 goals and 36.17 shots per game. The Bruins defense is among the best in the NHL, with opponents only managing 2.88 goals and 28.70 shots per game.

Marchand is Boston's top producer thus far with eight goals and 14 assists, tied for the team lead in both categories. Bergeron matches him in goals with eight while also dishing out eight assists, and David Pastrnak has also been excellent with six goals and 11 assists. Swayman has gotten the most playing time in net with 10 starts, posting a 2.42 goals against average and .908 save percentage.

No. 2 goalie Linus Ullmark is ready to return from a minor injury and make his eighth start of the season against the Canucks. Forward Trent Frederic suffered a lower body injury this month and isn't back healthy yet.

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Even though the Bruins aren't totally firing on cylinders, the Canucks are impossible to back right now while on a slide of eight losses in nine games with six of those coming by more than one goal. Vancouver is giving up goals at one of the highest rates in hockey right now, and Boston's top line is more than talented enough to take advantage in a blowout win.

The Bruins are already three games above .500 even while not playing their best, and advanced metrics like a 54.06 Corsi for rate indicate that this is one of the top five teams in the NHL. Scoring on the Bruins could prove especially difficult as they lead the NHL with just 26.09 expected goals allowed per game while getting backed by stellar goaltending, and nothing about Vancouver's offense indicates it can do much against a very good team.

Just like last season, the Canucks are having all sorts of issues stopping opponents from racking up high-danger chances, and the Pastrnak-Marchand-Bergeron trio should eat here. Until the Canucks start to be even competitive against good teams, they are worth fading.

Prediction: Bruins -1.5 (-102)

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There is some hope for a very talented Canucks offense that has unperformed some slightly above average metrics across the board this season. Something that will help them out is the likelihood of Ullmark starting, as he has given up almost a half game more per start than Swayman.

Demko is basically the only person keeping Vancouver afloat in many games, and he might not be playing the first game of a back-to-back, while Boston's offense against the Canucks defense is otherwise a mismatch. With the possibility of backup goaltenders starting against very capable offenses, this should be a high-scoring affair.

Prediction: Over 5.5 (-118)
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Written By Nathaniel Reeves , "Nathaniel Reeves"

Nathaniel Reeves is an avid sports fan with degrees in journalism from the University of Washington and statistics from Western Washington University. He's always had a passion for applying statistical analysis to sports betting and has successfully handicapped college football, college basketball, and Esports for years. Nathaniel has endured being a lifelong fan of the Seattle Mariners, along with the Seattle Seahawks, UW Huskies and soon to be Seattle Kraken. He has been a very successful sports bettor the last several years and we are thrilled that Nate has chosen to bring his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. You would be very wise to follow him daily. 
Follow on Twitter @njr3701