The Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks are two of the better teams in the NHL. However, both sides have been struggling recently. One of them will get back on track on Thursday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins Can Win Because…
The Sharks have dropped two of three and two of the losses have been ugly. They dropped a game in Buffalo and then also lost at home to Carolina. This is a team that’s just 5-6 in their last 11 games and is having a bit of an identity crisis in net. Alex Stalock has started three of the last four games, leaving veteran Antti Niemi on the sidelines. Both are playing well but Niemi was supposed to be the guy that takes them to the promise land. Now all of the sudden the Sharks are making a midseason change.
The Sharks home record of 22-4-4 looks good but they are just 3-3 in their last six at the Shark Tank. They have been far more vulnerable of late than they were in the early part of the season, so the Pens should be the choice for your NHL picks.
The San Jose Sharks Can Win Because…
The Pens have dropped three of four and are having some problems between the pipes. Sure, they’re coming off a 3-1 win over the hapless Nashville Predators but the Pens had given up 15 goals in three losses prior to that.
A lot of people will be enticed by Pittsburgh on the NHL odds considering they are an underdog – how often is Pittsburgh an underdog? – but take a look at the stats: they are a dicey road bet. Over the last month, they have road losses in Edmonton, Dallas and Phoenix. This is a team that’s been a far better bet at home (23-6) than on the road (18-4).
Outlook & Pick
Expect this game to have a playoff-like feel. These are two teams that are both in need of a win and should be quite focused. The Pens are enticing as a dog but instead, I’ll go with the under as I expect a tight, low-scoring affair here.Pick: Under 5.5 at Bodog