San Jose Sharks (9-2) @ Ottawa Senators (4-6)
According to current NHL betting odds both teams are -110 on the money line and the posted total is 5.0. San Jose has won 6 of the last 7 meetings between these two clubs. These two teams have seen just 1 of the last 8-games in this series go over the total.
Sustaining on the Road
This will be the 4th of a 5-game road trip for the Sharks in which they’re 2-1 so far. Last night they turned in a brilliant effort in a 2-0 win at Montreal. They outshot the Canadians 37-22, and veteran goaltender Antti Niemi posted his 2nd shutout of the season. Logan Couture scored both goals for the Sharks which were his 6th and 7th of the season. San Jose has gone under the total in all 3-games of this current road trip. This will be the 3rd game in 4-days and the 2nd game in less than 24-hours for the Sharks. The road trip will conclude on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The Sharks turn to backup goaltender Alex Stalock this evening. The 26-yeard old American will be making his first start of the season.
Gaudy Stats for the Sharks
There are several reasons that San Jose has been able to get off to a terrific start to the season. They’re #1 in the NHL averaging 3.8 goals per game, and are at best in the league in averaging 38.6 shots on goal per contest. They’ve been equally as stingy in allowing 1.5 goals per game and limiting opponents to just 23.1 shots on goal per contest which both rank 2nd in the NHL. The Sharks special teams have been rock solid ranking #8 in the leagues on the power play, and #3 in the NHL with their penalty killing.
Consistently Inconsistent Senators
This young Ottawa club already displayed their potential a season ago by qualifying for the playoffs, and then upsetting the #2 seed Montreal Canadians in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Now, it’s time to take the next step and be more consistent. You can give them an excuse for their uneven play thus far. After all they did open the season with 6 consecutive road games, and 4 of those were played on the west coast. However home losses at the hands of Edmonton and Anaheim were unacceptable. In the Anaheim loss on Friday night they were facing the Ducks backup goaltender Frederik Andersen who was making just his 2nd start of the season. The loss versus an Edmonton team that’s 3-9 on the year was really disturbing. In both of those home losses the Senators dug themselves a 2-0 hole at the end of the 1st period, and were never able to recover. Sandwiched between those disappointing performances was an impressive 6-1 road win at Detroit which was a glimpse of how good this team can be.
It’s imperative the Senators get off to a quick start today versus a confident Sharks team. Ottawa will really emphasize getting out to an early lead versus an inexperienced opposing goaltender. The Sharks don’t figure to have a lot left in the tank late in the game in light their recent itinerary. I have a small lean with the home side for my NHL picks today.
Free Pick: Ottawa -120 over San Jose