The Montreal Canadiens will be fresh but not rested after their defeat in Anaheim when they travel to San Jose to face the Sharks, who will be looking to take full advantage of the weary Canadiens.
The Canadians, as predicted,
failed to get the better of the Ducks on Wednesday night and the score was even
more emphatic than expected. They will be hoping to do better against a San
Jose side who seem to have lost that scoring feeling, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
The Sharks seem to have forgotten where the
back of the net is with Logan Couture, who had 32 goals last season, it just once in his last eight games. Ryan Clowe has been held in his last 10
and even Joe Thornton (the team leader with 21 points) only has one assist in
his last three games. What’s more they’ve failed to convert on their last 10
power plays, going 0 for 8 in their last two games after going 16 for 70. "We're
trying to jump start a few players," said coach Todd McLellan, "Our
offensive production hasn't been enough to win games. We're trying to create
more around the blue paint.”
Last among equals
Montreal has had their own problems, and were
laid bare for all to see on Wednesday night. Montreal defenseman Hal Gill said
"We couldn't get the job done on the power play, and we gave up a couple
of goals shorthanded. It's tough to win when you do that."
San Jose will
hope that the Canadians defence will be as inviting and welcoming, as they have
only managed to find the net three times in their last three games.
will also be smarting after a 2-0 away defeat at LA in their last game on
Monday night and will be hoping that home ice brings greater benefits, as their
game against the Canadians is first of four games at home.
They are also home for 10 of 13 games in December with all three of their road
games in a four-day stretch. With that in mind you might want to check out the NHL betting odds on this game going Under 5.5 at -154 with sportsbooks offering a home win at -120.
The Sharks aren’t sunk yet!
The Sharks are still 13–7–1 and boasts a
shots per game average of 34.2, Monday night’s 2-0 loss at LA actually saw them
record 33 shots, but as we all know it's goals that win games. Sharks will of
had a couple of days to ponder, stew and consider their back to back defeats
and I expect them to come out flashing their skates keen to avoid matching a
season-high three-game losing streak.
If you think the sharks may have last
their bite, remember that the Canadiens will be without left wing Max
Pacioretty, who leads the team with 10 goals, as he’s serving his second game
of a three game suspension.
In game one, Montreal was limited to a season-low
20 shots (three of which were in the final period) and they have failed to put
more than 27 shots on goal in any of the last three matches. An away win is
offered up at +250 with the sportsbooks, but I don’t think that the Canadiens
have the heart or the legs for it.
I'm backing a home win as my NHL pick, despite the fact
that Montreal has won the most recent meetings between the sides 3-1 (at the
Bell Center almost a year ago to the day), but they have been beaten in their
last five visits to the Shark Tank. One of those was an overtime loss, but they
still haven't skated off the San Jose ice victorious since 1999 when they beat
the sharks 3-2. If you think I’m wrong you can back the same score at +1100.
Sharks bare their teeth and win the match 3-1 at +1400