Kent Tukeli | Thu 07/12/2017 - 07:28 EST

5 Must-Bet Canuck Games This Week

5 Must-Bet Canuck Games This Week

#1 Seattle Sounders at Toronto FC

My Team's Next MatchToronto

  • Major League Soccer – MLS Cup Final
  • Saturday, December 9
  • BMO Field, 4 PM EST – TSN, ESPN

The Seattle Sounders earned an MLS Cup last year against the Reds at BMO Field, a scenario that Toronto FC wants to avoid during their second consecutive finals matchup against Seattle.

A Supporters’ Shield and setting new regular season records means little for Toronto. They’re interested in winning their first MLS Cup and moving on to capture the first CONCACAF Champions League win of any MLS team.

Seattle will attempt to reduce the pace against Toronto while the Reds want to press the ball forward to pressure the Sounders defense into breaking. After much speculation circling around Toronto being the best team in MLS history, Seattle can prove that their squad’s the greatest with their second consecutive MLS Cup win. Toronto will be favored heading into this match, but Seattle’s good enough to upset the Reds in a one-off championship game.

#2 Ottawa Senators at Los Angeles Kings

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Thursday, December 7
  • Staples Center, 10:30 PM EST – FSN, TSN, RDS

This game’s a Canadian “must-bet” for all the wrong reasons. After outperforming expectations last season with a Cinderella run that placed them one game away from the Stanley Cup finals, the Ottawa Senators have plummeted into a severe losing trend, including a seven-game loss streak to finish a terrible month of December.

Los Angeles will host the Senators less than 24 hours after Ottawa faces off against the Anaheim Ducks, giving the Kings a big advantage against a struggling team. L.A. doesn’t play as well in California compared to their NHL-best road record, but this game appears as close to a lock for the Kings as any other matchup this week.

#3 Philadelphia Flyers at Vancouver Canucks

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Thursday, December 7
  • Rogers Arena, 7:00 PM EST – SNP, NBCSP

The Vancouver Canucks have a three-game win streak going, including victories over the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Rookie coach Travis Green has unlocked the potential of his young lineup, who have responded to most challenges they’ve faced during the first quarter of the NHL regular season.

Philly has been atrocious during the month of November, which resulted in a losing streak of ten games that stretched into the month of December.

The Flyers stemmed the bleeding with a 5-2 victory over the inconsistent Calgary Flames, but Vancouver will enjoy a significant advantage on Thursday night. Philadelphia will have played their third game in four nights, with less than a day rest after meeting the Edmonton Oilers on December 6th. The Canucks should be able to decimate a deflated Flyers squad.

#4 Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Saturday, December 9
  • PPG Paints Arena, 7:00 PM EST – CBC, ATTSN-PT, NHLN

The marquee matchup of Hockey Night In Canada will be the Toronto Maple Leafs flying into Steel City to meet the defending Stanley Cup champions. Toronto’s a bit ahead of the Penguins in terms of their location in the standings. Since Pittsburgh plays in the competitive Metropolitan Division, they need to improve their regular season record to avoid falling into a wild card situation.

Toronto’s in the Atlantic Division, which appears to be the weakest group in the NHL, giving them an excellent chance of earning home ice advantage for their first-round playoff matchup. This could be a preview of the eastern conference finals in 2018, or the second round of the playoffs if the Pens somehow slide into a wild card spot. Pittsburgh will have the home advantage on Saturday, giving them a slight edge.

#5 Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning

  • NHL Regular Season
  • Saturday, December 9
  • Amalie Arena, 7:00 PM EST – CITY, SUN

Toronto and Pittsburgh might be the marquee matchup on Saturday night, but the two best teams in the NHL could be the Winnipeg Jets and the Tampa Bay Lightning. If these teams continue playing at a high level with consistency, this could end up being a Stanley Cup finals preview, much to the chagrin of television networks across North America.

The Jets have been playing superb hockey this year after discovering how to play defense, while the Lightning are finally healthy enough to sustain elite play. Tampa’s played well at home, but they’ve showed signs of vulnerability against teams with strong forward depth, like the New York Islanders. Winnipeg won’t be considered the favorite because they’re the road team, but they still have a chance to earn a statement win over the Lightning.

Results / FixturesNHL

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