Surging Sharks Now Team To Beat Out West

Sunday, March 10, 2019 9:37 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 10, 2019 9:37 PM UTC

In our past two looks at the NHL’s Western Conference playoff race, the Calgary Flames were the favorites to win it. That’s no longer the case.

<p>It’s a third straight week that we look at the odds to win the Western Conference in the NHL. The first two had the Calgary Flames as the <a href=";book=BOVADA" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Bovada</a> betting favorites. Made perfect sense as the Flames were atop the West in points. However, they are struggling of late and are now +450 second-favorites.</p><p>The new leader and the club with the most points in the West is the San Jose Sharks, and they are +350 <a href="" target="_blank" title="NHL Odds Board">NHL betting favorites</a> to win the West for the second time in franchise history. They also did in 2016, beating the St. Louis Blues in six games before falling to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals.</p><p>San Jose enters this week having won four straight and 13 of 17. Goaltender Martin Jones started the season off a bit shaky but has been great of late in allowing just nine goals during his four-game winning streak. He’s 33-13-5 with a 2.89 GAA and .898 save percentage – the latter two not great numbers but improving steadily. The Sharks are as deep offensively as any team in the league. They rank second in goals per game and fifth on the power play. No club has a better offensive blueline duo than San Jose’s Brent Burns (team-best 73 points) and Erik Karlsson (45 points). Both have won a Norris Trophy and Burns might add another this summer.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;FOUR straight Ws and now the &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@SanJoseSharks&lt;/a&gt; are first in the West.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Start the music, folks. 🦈 &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— NHL (@NHL) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;10 de março de 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p>A total of 10 Sharks have at least 40 points if we include Gustav Nyquist’s numbers from Detroit before the trade deadline. Joe Thornton joined that 40-point club on Saturday with his 1,467<sup>th</sup> career point. That tied the legendary Stan Mikita for 14<sup>th</sup> on the all-time list. Paul Coffey is next at 1,531 so Thornton won’t catch him until next season. That’s if Thornton plays another season as he’s 39 and on a one-year deal. He might retire should the Sharks win the Cup.</p><p>Circle San Jose’s home game on March 31 vs. Calgary as <a href="" target="_blank" title="NHL Picks &amp; Predictions">that could be huge for determining the West’s top seed</a> and Pacific Division champion. The Flames are in a bit of a funk right now, but that happens to every team in the league (other than Tampa Bay in 2018-19).</p><p>If Calgary doesn’t shake out of it soon, it risks being caught by red-hot Vegas (+600 to win West). No goaltender is playing better these days than the Knights’ Marc-Andre Fleury. Last week, he moved past Jacques Plante for sole possession of eighth place on the NHL's all-time victories list. Fleury should pass No. 7 Terry Sawchuk (445) before the end of the season.</p><p>The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets, battling for the Central Division title, are each +500 to win the West. Can probably stick a fork in any chance Colorado (+3000) had of even reaching the playoffs with the news that All-Star forward Gabriel Landeskog will miss four to six weeks with an upper-body injury. Landeskog, 26, has recorded career highs this season with 33 goals, including a league-leading nine game-winners, and 69 points.</p>
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