For the first time in their careers, all three Hughes brothers will share the ice in the National Hockey League. Quinn (Vancouver) and Jack (New Jersey) are no strangers to each other, but with youngest brother Luke now an NHL regular with the Devils, there’s a little extra juice. With both teams looking to turn around recent speed bumps, the stakes are high in what should be the most interesting game on the Tuesday hockey docket.
Bet on Devils vs. Canucks
Despite the much-better record and home-ice advantage, the Canucks are only slight favourites at -115.
Devils vs. Canucks odds
|Devils Moneyline Odds
|Canucks Moneyline Odds
|Canucks -1.5 (+210), Devils +1.5 (-250)
|7 goals (over +110, under -130)
|Dec. 5, 10:00 p.m. ET
|Broadcast: Sportsnet Pacific
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
About the Devils (11-10-1 SU, 5-17 ATS, 17-5 o/u)
The Devils have had one of the more underwhelming starts in the NHL this year. Pegged as threats in both the Presidents’ Trophy and Stanley Cup futures odds markets, New Jersey has been just barely skirting the .500 line, starting off pretty well at 7-3-1 only to lose in regulation six times in seven games early in November. They did spark up for three wins in a row two weeks ago but then became the team to host the lowly San Jose Sharks and lose on Dec. 1st.
The biggest issue the team has had is fishing pucks out of its own net, which was the issue many worried about going into the season. While the Devils have managed the league’s third-best shot attempt share and fourth-best expected goal share at 5-on-5, they’ve also had the league’s worst save percentage at 5-on-5 and second-worst overall.
About the Canucks (16-8-1 SU, 17-8 ATS, 15-8 o/u)
Meanwhile, the Canucks have had one of the most pleasantly surprising starts in the league this year, and while it’s mellowing a little, they’re settling in a way that should still inspire some hope from Canucks fans. About a third of the way into the season, the team has itself in a spot where middle-of-the-pack results the rest of the way should put it into a playoff position for the first time since 2019/20 and the first time in a proper sense since 2014/15.
Their superstar nucleus of Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, and Thatcher Demko have been dominant, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser have taken a step back upward this year, Filip Hronek has been a great addition to their blue line, and their depth players are starting to figure it out too. While not dominant, the team’s underlying shot rates are better than they have been in a few seasons, and when you combine that with game-breaking talent, it’s a big step in the right direction.
They’d probably like to get out from their recent game results, though, as they’ve lost five of their past nine. Again, part of that was inevitable after banking such a hot start, but it’s not a habit you’d like to get into. A five-game homestand that starts tonight is a great opportunity to get things going in the right direction again.
The last game between these two teams was back in February. The Devils came out ahead, but only after a few scares. Andrei Kuzmenko opened the scoring for Vancouver three minutes in, only for Jack Hughes to tie it up before the period closed. New Jersey exploded for three goals in 50 seconds in the middle of the second period to put up what should’ve been a comfortable lead, but saw it slip down to one before the frame ended, and Phil Di Giuseppe equalized for the Canucks in the third.
The Devils did eventually get the last laugh, but it took until the final minute of overtime for Jesper Bratt to deliver his 20th goal of the season, and the Devils’ 33rd win.
|New Jersey Devils
Erik Haula – Jack Hughes – Tyler Toffoli
Ondrej Palat – Nico Hischier – Jesper Bratt
Timo Meier – Dawson Mercer – Alexander Holtz
Curtis Lazar – Michael McLeod – Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler – Simon Nemec
Kevin Bahl – John Marino
Colin Miller – Luke Hughes
Starting In Goal
Vitek Vanecek (Projected)
8-5-0, 3.48 GAA, 0.879 SV%
Ilya Mikheyev – Elias Pettersson – Sam Lafferty
Andrei Kuzmenko – J.T. Miller – Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua – Teddy Blueger – Conor Garland
Nils Hoglander – Nils Aman – Linus Karlsson
Quinn Hughes – Filip Hrnoek
Ian Cole – Noah Juulsen
Nikita Zadorov – Tyler Myers
Starting In Goal
Thatcher Demko (Projected)
12-6-0, 2.26 GAA, 0.924 SV%
There’s a lot of star power across these two teams, though New Jersey is shorthanded by one that we’ll touch on in a minute. The Devils still have a heck of a first punch with Hughes, Hischier, Bratt, and Meier, while Vancouver responds with a more spread-out contingent of Pettersson, Hughes, Demko, and Miller.
For those who are regular readers of my Leafs previews, Sam Lafferty on the top line is going to look wild. But to his credit, he’s played in a more offence-driven role with the Canucks and quickly become a utility-type player that they can slide across the lineup in the event of injuries or even just when they want to switch things up.
Quinn Hughes over 1.5 points
New Jersey has the single biggest injury gap in this game with Dougie Hamilton on the IR. The star defenceman was injured last Tuesday and is out with a torn left pectoral muscle. He’s out indefinitely and the team put him on retroactive IR over the weekend. They are also without Tomas Nosek, who injured his foot early in the season and recently re-aggravated it, leaving him no choice but to opt for surgery.
In Vancouver, the Canucks are without Carson Soucy, who has missed the past 12 games with a lower-body injury. They’ve also lost Pius Suter to an undisclosed but long-term injury.
- The Canucks are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and 4-6 on the puckline. They’ve fared better at home, with 7-3 records both straight-up and on the puckline in their last 10.
- In the Devils’ case, they’re 4-6 in their last 10, and 2-8 on the puckline (a big hit to bettors’ unit counts at -6.08 if you took them to win all 10 games). On the road, they’re 6-4 in their last 10, and 4-6 on the puckline.
- The Devils have dominated this matchup historically. Across their past 10 games against each other, the Devils are 9-1, and 6-4 on the puckline. These games have played over the total four times out of 10.
Player prop trends
- Jack Hughes has been a man on a mission of late, taking a whopping 47 shots in his last 10 games and 38 (!!) in his last five. He has eight points (3G 5A) in his last five games.
- Tyler Toffoli, Nico Hischier, Dawson Mercer, and Alexander Holtz are also at, or slightly above, a point per game in New Jersey’s last five.
- The Vancouver top pairing of Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek continues to put numbers on the board. Hughes has 11 points in his last 10, while Hronek has nine.
- On the forward front, Elias Pettersson is a little cooler than we’re used to (seven points and 20 shots in his last 10), but J.T. Miller has 13 points in that stretch and Brock Boeser has 10, so there is still some punch being delivered up front.
Wagers to consider
- Let’s get weird! Bet365 has a lot of boosted Same Game Parlays for tonight, but I’m shocked it doesn’t have the “Triple Hughes Special”, as I’m calling it. Quinn over 1.5 points, Jack over 1.5 points, and Luke over 0.5. Individually, they’re +175, +130, and +125, respectively. Together, they’re +1000.
- Normally I wouldn’t take an under with Pettersson, but he’s only cleared 2.5 shots on goal three times in his last 11 games, and for all the goals the Devils bleed, they’re pretty good at preventing shots. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the under hit at -120 here.
- Taking the over seven goals is tempting as well. You know there’s going to be bragging rights on the board tonight, and both of these teams have been strong bets for the over this year.