Free NHL Picks: Go 'Under' Tonight On Predators Against Sharks

Dana Lane

Saturday, April 2, 2016 4:04 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 2, 2016 4:04 PM UTC

Will the San Jose Sharks and the Nashville Predators play a slow pace in an effort to protect against injury heading into the postseason? Check inside for our NHL pick for the game. 

San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are in a great position as they sit third in the Pacific Division. They will have to play their first round on the road which suites them just fine.  With a 26-10-3 road record San Jose is tied with the Washington capitals for the most road wins. Nashville's recent slump has them in the West' 1st wild card spot without hope of moving up.

They do still have to give a solid effort because the Wild are on their heels and dropping further could mean a date with the Dallas Stars instead of the Pacific Division winner which is no picnic but more winnable. Nashville has had the Sharks number as they go for the season sweep and a seventh straight home win in the series. 

The Sharks gave a lethargic effort in their 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks who had lost nine straight heading into the contest. This was after the Sharks had already clinched a playoff spot after their 5-2 victory against the Kings. Beacuse both sides will need some help moving up I can see a scenerio where both Peter DeBoer and Peter Laviolette will try to give some of the regulars a few less shifts. 

There will be an emphasis on defense for San Jose as they look to improve on their recent struggles after allowing 17 goals in their last 5 games. Sharks goaltender martin Jones wasn't busy as he only faced 22 shots but he did allow two first period goals and a quick third period goal after the Sharks had tied the game. Jones has lost both meetings against the Predators this season as Nashville improved to 10-3-1 in their last 14 against the Sharks. The team is part of the NHL picks because in six home contest in the series they've allowed only nine goals. 


Nashville Predators Overview
Nashville's top guns haven't been as sharp lately. Philip Forsberg, James Neal, Craig Smith, Shea Weber, and Calle Jarnkrok have only tallied two goals in their small three game streak. 

Nashville's power play is coming up empty as they failed on four attempts in a 5-2 loss to the Penguins Thursday. Gabriel Bourque is back with the Preds after an upper body injury but I wouldn't expect him to play the rest of the way. Not a major injury now but besides Bourque Nashville is healthy, so the issue does not affect their NHL odds boards.


Final Analysis
A bigger loss is the Sharks Marc-Edouard Vlasic who is a to defensemen. Vlasic has a lower body injury and hasn't started to skate but the Sharks are hopeful that he will be available for their playoff opener. 

This is not becoming a good situation for the Sharks or their bettors. When playing on only one days rest San Jose has dropped four of their last five games.This becomes an issue as the season winds down and teams start to navigate their regular season in hopes of getting healthy for the postseason. I like a slower pace tonight so the 'under' 5.5 is my play.

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Free NHL Pick: 'Under' 5.5 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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