The Vancouver Canucks were 25 to 1 to win the NHL's Pacific Division with BetVictor's ante-post odds on October 19th. The Canucks entered Thursday3-0-0 and with a home game against the Buffalo Sabres imminent. That game is now over, the Canucks won it 2-1 in regulation to remain undefeated, and it seems that Vancouver improving to 4-0-0 crossed some kind of threshold with the oddsmakers.The Vancouver Canucks are now 10 to 1 to win the Pacific Division with BetVictor, odds that have shortened considerably in the last 24 hours.

Jacob Markstrom strong so far

The story of the game against Buffalo was Jacob Markstrom, a player that has really come into his own so far this young season.

In three games and 182 minutes of playing time the 26-year old Swede has allowed just five goals. Furthermore, his save percentage on the season is .932, more than acceptable and certainly surprising effectiveness based on his career average of just .904.

The question with Markstrom, and maybe with the entire Canucks' team, is if we've only seen nothing but short-term effectiveness that will fizzle out in time. All NHL goalies are capable of brief stints of excellent play. If Markstrom regresses back toward his normal standard of play (and he probably will in my view) then Vancouver's chances start to fade. This is not an offensively-gifted team, they only have ten goals in their four games combined, and they've won each game they've played by the minimum one goal.

Pacific Division could feature surprises

However, a 4-0-0 team should rarely be considered 10 to 1 to win their division. Accordingly, we could be looking at an under-rated Vancouver team right now, playing in a division that has seen some circumstances develop that could favor an underdog.

The Anaheim Ducks, the reigning Pacific Division champions, have sucked so far at 1-3-1 on the year.

The San Jose Sharks haven't exactly sucked, but they still sit at -1 for goal differential and a mediocre 3-2-0 overall record. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Kings are going to be without starting goaltender Jonathan Quick until January and who knows how well he will play when he gets back. The Kings may have won on Thursday against the Dallas Stars, but that was just their first win of the season in four outings.

In the big picture I see Vancouver losing momentum, however eight points banked in the standings certainly isn't worthless. I'm looking for the Edmonton Oilers, who beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Thursday, to overtake top spot before October comes to an end. However perhaps the Canucks, who were the last favorites to win the Stanley Cup during the preseason (BetVictor), might stick their nose into the Wild Card race this season. The Canucks will be tested on the road over the weekend as they do the Los Angeles-Anaheim double on Saturday/Sunday with 7pm PT and 5pm PT the starting times respectively.

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