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Lightning vs. Canucks prediction: NHL odds, pick Wednesday


The Vancouver Canucks are not the worst team in the NHL this season, but they are the biggest mess.

The Canucks are 18-22-3 with a -21 goal differential and are 12 points behind the Flames for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But Vancouver’s poor record barely scratches the surface of what’s going on here.

We did talk about these two teams to win the Stanley Cup just a few weeks ago. Below we preview the Lightning vs. Canucks at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

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Lightning vs. Canucks prediction (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

It’s been long expected that Vancouver wants to fire head coach Bruce Boudreau – there’s even a rumor out there that the team has a deal in place with Rick Tocchet to replace Boudreau – but he’s still coaching the team. Vancouver is also expected to trade captain Bo Horvat, because the club botched its salary cap situation and won’t be able to afford to keep the 30-goal scorer.

Horvat is just one of a few pieces of the Canucks’ core that will be offloaded before the Trade Deadline, as Canucks general manager Jim Rutherford admitted the team needed to “perform surgery” to its roster.

And on Monday, Rutherford had to hold a special press conference to defend the team’s medical staff over how they handled Tanner Pearson’s wrist injury.

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes a save against Curtis Lazar #20 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Amalie Arena on January 12, 2023
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes a save against Curtis Lazar #20 of the Vancouver Canucks during a game on January 12, 2023
NHLI via Getty Images

It’s an absolute circus in Vancouver right now. Still, that kind of negative attention from the media and fans will often seep into the betting market and provide an opportunity to buy low. Nobody is going to want to touch the Canucks with a 10-foot pole right now. Well, almost nobody.

While things are certainly not going well for the Canucks, it’s not as if this team has quit on its coach or each other. Vancouver rounded out their recent road trip with a stirring come-from-behind victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s best for bettors to do their best to avoid reading into effort level and motivation too much, but in this instance it does matter a bit that the Canucks are still fighting. 

Vancouver’s offensive core, which features an elite center in Elias Pettersson and several dynamic playmakers, should be good enough to contend with any team in the NHL. The problem is the Canucks are about as bad as any team in the league at managing the puck, and defensive mistakes often end up in the back of the net because the team’s goaltending isn’t good enough to bail them out. 

That’s not a recipe for success, but on the nights when Vancouver can limit the mistakes, they are dangerous, especially as an underdog. And it’s unlikely, given what’s going on around them, that the market will ever be more sour on the Canucks than right now. 

Betting on the NHL?

A tango with the in-form Tampa Bay Lightning after a scenic road trip may not seem like a great spot to back the Canucks, but it should be a pretty emotional effort from the home team after this past week. 

Whether or not that’s enough to overcome the gap between these two teams remains to be seen, but the price is big enough to find out.

Lightning vs. Canucks pick 

Canucks +150 (BetMGM)


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