NHL Picks: Sharks vs. Canucks

David Lawrence

Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:52 PM GMT

The Vancouver Canucks play host to the San Jose Sharks tonight at the Rogers Arena. Who should we be backing with our free sports picks here?

The San Jose Sharks have averted disaster…for now. After starting the season 10-1-1, the Sharks slumped with a five-game losing streak before winning on Tuesday in Calgary. We’ll find out if that was just a one-off or a trend when they visit the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, who are also mired in a bit of downward spiral.

The San Jose Sharks can win because…

They got back on track. While the Sharks had lost five straight, the losses were a bit overblown. It has to be noted that four of them came in overtime, so it’s not as if the team suffered an epic collapse. What gets overlooked is that nothing happened to their offense. They’ve still scored 18 goals in their last six, which is a reasonable 3.0 goals per game.

They just need better play on defense. The good news is goaltender Antti Niemi has a 1.94 GAA on the road this season and allowed just five goals in three meetings with the Canucks last season.

The Vancouver Canucks can win because…

They are back at home. People who’ve added the Canucks to their NHL picks have cashed in on their road games as they are 7-4-2 when away, but it’s clear that they grew weary in their last trip. The Canucks ran out of gas on the west coast, losing three out of four. However, the one win they did get was in San Jose.

Sharks netminder Antti Niemi has really struggled recently and that’s been the difference for San Jose. He’s allowed four goals in four of his last five starts and that’s simply not good enough.

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Outlook & Pick

This is tough game to call as both teams are slumping. The Canucks aren’t great at home while the Sharks have been struggling on the road. Niemi has been off while Luongo was pulled in his last outing. That being the case, we’ll take the over. Normally, a total of five would make sense on the NHL odds but given the labors of both goaltenders, I’ll add the over to my sports picks.

NHL Pick: Over 5 at Bovada