Kesler returns to Canucks lineup

Ryan Kesler returns to the Vancouver lineup Monday as the Canucks look to increase their lead in the Northwest over idle Minnesota.


Vancouver has won back-to-back games in convincing fashion over Calgary and Edmonton the past week and they’ll wrap the current three-game homestand against Phoenix. Sportsbooks are favoring the Canucks at -160 with a total set at 5 Under (-105) and team totals of Coyotes 2.5 Under (-146) and Canucks 2.5 Over (-119).


Kesler will likely lineup with Zack Kassian and Mason Raymond tonight as the club tries to maintain the offensive burst that began with the addition of Derek Roy. In the seven games prior to trading for Roy the Canucks only scored more than two goals twice, despite going 5-2.


Cory Schneider has found his groove and with three lines that can score, opponents will have a much tougher time matching up against the powerful Sedin line which includes Alex Burrows.


Phoenix is playing much better hockey on home ice but they did win 4-2 against Vancouver Feb. 26 at Rogers Arena. The Canucks have since evened the season series with a 2-1 in the desert and the road team is 8-0-2 in the past 10 meetings between these teams with five of the last seven staying under the number.


The Coyotes are 4-0-2 in their last six overall but on the road, six of their past seven opponents have tallied at least three goals. The Canucks are 9-4 at home this year when favored by more than -150 on the moneyline and outscoring teams 3.2 to 2.1. They look potent but for Vancouver to win, they’ll need to limit chances and get another solid performance from Schneider.

Pick: Take the Coyotes-Canucks to stay “Under” 5 goals


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