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Weekend hockey wagering previews

Tonight north of the border the Vancouver Canucks host a red-hot Washington Capitals team and even though the Caps are 8-2 in their last 10 games, odds makers have the Canucks as slight favorites.

Washington Capitals (21-7-6 48 points) at Vancouver Canucks (19-15-0 38 points)

Bovada has a moneyline for this game with the Canucks as the favorite posted at -120 with the Capitals posted at Even with an Over/Under of 6 goals. The puck line for this game has the Capitals at (+1.5) -290 and the Canucks at (-1.5) +240.

The Capitals have not only won eight of their last ten games, but they also have the biggest division lead by a wide margin (9 points). The Canucks are 6-4 in their last 10 games and trail Calgary and Colorado by four points in the Northwest Division.

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The Canucks have been decent this season on defense allowing 2.59 goals per game, but they will be tested tonight against a Capitals team that leads the league in scoring (3.56 gpg). Vancouver has to especially worry about 2-time MVP Alex Ovechkin, who is third in the league in goals (21), and Nicklas Backstrom, who is fifth in the league in points (39).

The Canucks are no slouch on offense, as they rank fifth in goals per game (3.06). Washington is decent on defense (2.76 goals per game) and their main goal will be containing Henrik Sedin, who leads Vancouver in goals (15), assists (28) and points (43), which ranks third in the league.

Canucks’ G Roberto Luongo (2.41 GAA 91.7% save percentage) will have to have a good game against Washington and their dynamic offense.

Caps’ G Jose Theodore (2.93 GAA 90.3% save percentage) has been playing great recently going 4-1-0 with a 2.19 GAA in his last five games and in his last five games against the Canucks he has gone 5-0 with a 1.98 GAA.

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The Canucks average four more penalty minutes per game than the Caps and since Washington has such a stellar offense they cannot afford to allow the Caps to have power play chances.

Saturday Hockey Odds

New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers

This is a big rivalry game and neither team is playing well, as each is one game under .500 and the Flyers are in last place in the tough Atlantic Division and are only 2-7-1 in their last 10 games and the Rangers are not much better only leading Philadelphia by one point in the division and going 2-6-2 in their last 10 games.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres

The Penguins lead the tough Atlantic Division and have the most points in the NHL, but they will be tested, big time, by a Buffalo team that is 7-3 in their last 10 games and leads the Northeast Division. Pittsburgh ranks fourth in the league in goals scored per game and Buffalo ranks second in goals allowed.

Sunday NHL moneylines

Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks

After a sluggish start the Red Wings have began playing well and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The Blackhawks are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and lead the Red Wings by four points in the Central Division. The Blackhawks have the best defense in the NHL only allowing an average of two goals per game.

St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks

The Blues are in last place in the in tough Central Division and they are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and one game over .500. They will have to play good defense against a Canucks’ team that ranks fifth in the league in scoring (3.06 goals per game.

NHL odds updates every day in the OddsShark.com {URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/NHL/Odds}hockey handicapping section here.{/URL}