NHL Picks: Stars vs. Sharks

David Schwab

Sunday, April 7, 2013 2:00 PM GMT

Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 2:00 PM GMT

The Dallas Stars will try and enhance their chance at earning a spot in this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs when they invade HP Pavilion this Sunday to square-off against the San Jose Sharks.

NHL Game Preview and Pick- Dallas Stars vs. San Jose Sharks

This Pacific Division clash is slated to get underway at 1 p.m. (PT) and the game will be broadcast nationally on the NHL Network.Let's review the NHL odds.

Stars Overview 

The Stars snapped a three-game skid with a 3-1 victory over Anaheim on Friday night as 168 road underdogs. The win came just two nights after they lost to the Ducks on the road 5-2 as 177 underdogs as part of a three-game series dating back to last Monday. Dallas is now five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with 37 points on an overall record of 17-17-3. It has gone 9-8-1 on the road this season and the total has gone OVER in four of its last seven games.

Coming into this matchup, the Stars are ranked 15th in the NHL in scoring with 2.5 goals a game. Their leading scorer was Jaromir Jagr with 15 goals and 12 assists, but they decided to part ways with the long-time veteran in a trade with Boston. It will now be up to players like Jamie Bend (8 goals and 17 assists) and Loui Eriksson (9 goals and 14 assists) to carry the load. Kari Lehtonen has seen the majority of the action in goal and comes in with a goals-against-average of 2.61 and a .917 save percentage.

Sharks Overview

Friday night’s 2-1 victory over Calgary as a 264 home favorite was San Jose’s seventh-straight win that has it sitting in fourth place in the West with 46 points. The Sharks are 20-11-6 this season including a rock-solid 14-1-4 record at home. The last time they lost on their home ice in regulation was in early February in a 5-3 setback to Chicago. The total has gone 2-4-2 in its last eight games with the total line set at five in seven of the contests. 

You would never accuse San Jose of having one of the more potent offensive attacks in the league with an average of 2.4 goals a game, but it more than compensates for this lack of firepower with its stellar play on the other end of the ice. Through 37 games of a shortened 48 game schedule, the Sharks are ranked fifth in the NHL in goals allowed with a GAA of just 2.3. They have especially performed well against the power play with a kill rate of 86.3, which is third-best in the league. Antti Niemi continues to lead the charge in goal with a 2.09 GAA and a save percentage of .962 in 33 games this season. 

Stars vs. Sharks Betting Lines and Trends 

Dallas has been opened as a 172 road underdog on BetOnline’s money line with the Sharks listed as 189 favorites at home. The total for this game has been set at 5.

The Stars are 2-5 in their last seven games against the division and 3-9 in their last 12 games playing on one day’s rest. The total has gone OVER in eight of their last 11 games following a win.

The Sharks are a perfect 7-0 in their last seven games playing on one day’s rest and 4-1 in their last five games after scoring two or less goals in their previous outing. The total has stayed UNDER in 12 of their last 18 home games. 

Head-to-head in this divisional matchup, the home team is 5-1 in the last six meetings and the total has gone OVER in four of the last six games. Dallas is 2-7 in the last nine meetings overall and 0-4 in its last four trips to HP Pavilion, but it did win the only previous meeting this season 3-1 as a 105 home underdog. 

[gameodds]7/224168/43-19/us[/gameodds]

Stars vs. Sharks Free NHL Pick 

The Stars find themselves in a very difficult situation to try and steal another win on the road. After tangling with one of the best overall teams in the league three times this past week, they now have to face the best home team in the NHL. While the money line on San Jose is prohibitively high, the free NHL pick for this matchup is with the Sharks to continue their dominance on their home ice. 

San Jose 3    Dallas 1 (lines provided by BetOnline) 

Year-to-Date NHL Record: 24-12-2

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