NHL playoff odds: Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks, Game 4

The can shockingly finish off the favored in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series on Tuesday night, and the Sharks opened as -160 favorites on WagerWeb.com. Check our current lines.

The Sharks took a 3-0 stranglehold in the series with a 5-2 win on Sunday. Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau scored in rapid succession in the opening minutes of the third period to spoil Cory Schneider’s return to the nets for Vancouver. Couture had two goals and two assists, Joe Pavelski scored twice and Antti Niemi made 28 saves as the Sharks took a 3-0 series lead.

Alex Burrows and Dan Hamhuis scored for the Canucks, who have lost nine of their past 10 playoff games since taking a 3-2 series lead over Boston in the Stanley Cup finals two years ago. Schneider, the starter for most of the regular season, replaced Roberto Luongo after missing the first two games with an undisclosed injury. Schneider was then replaced by Luongo after allowing three goals in the first 4:07 of the third period to end Vancouver’s hopes of a comeback. Two of those goals came on the power play as San Jose tied a franchise playoff record with three power play goals.

“We felt Lou was playing great,” San Jose’s Joe Thornton said of Luongo not starting. “We felt we were lucky not to play against Lou, to be honest.”

The Canucks have managed just five total goals over three games, and that’s just not going to get it done in the playoffs — no matter who’s in goal. In fact, the real issue here is probably the fact that this team has scored 17 goals over their last 13 playoff games. Not surprisingly, they’re just 2-11 in that stretch.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he has made a decision about his starter for Tuesday, but won’t announce it until after he tells the players. The focus now is on figuring out how to beat the Sharks four straight times after losing the first six meetings between the teams this season.

“I believe we can win one game,” Vigneault said. “We haven’t beaten the Sharks once this year. I believe we can do it.”

Luongo said he’s ready to go if he gets the nod in Game 4. If San Jose can’t finish the sweep of the third-seeded Canucks, the series will head back to Vancouver for a Game 5 encounter on Thursday.

“If I’m called upon, I’ll be ready.” Luongo said. “If not, Cory will be ready as well. It’s his team and whatever happens I will be 100 percent supportive. We just have to make sure when we come to the rink, starting tomorrow, we are 100 percent dedicated to winning the hockey game, doing whatever it takes whether that is taking a punch in the face, blocking a shot with your teeth. If we have 20 guys ready to do that in the next game, I like our chances.”

Vancouver hasn’t been swept in a best-of-seven series since losing four straight to Colorado in the opening round of the 2001 playoffs. The Sharks were 17-2-5 on home ice this year compared to an 8-14-2 mark on the road.

WagerWeb.com trends: Canucks are 1-4 in their last 5 after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game. Canucks are 1-4 in their last 5 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game. Canucks are 1-7 in their last 8 games following a loss of 3 or more goals. Sharks are 10-1 in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record. Sharks are 5-1 in their last 6 after scoring 5 goals or more in their previous game. Sharks are 13-3 in their last 16 games playing on 1 days rest.


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