Only 6 points separates the 6th spot in the Western Conference, which is held by the Vancouver Canucks and the 10th spot which is held by 3 teams, including the San Jose Sharks. There's no margin for error as the season winds down and these two teams face off against eachother. See who we like as our betting pick in this matchup.
Ice time is set for 10:00 pm ET tonight at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia,, Canada. San Jose is the team that get's no rest, but they have to be feeling good as they came into yesterday's game as a +115 underdog against Montreal and defeated the Habs 4-0.
Tonight, the NHL odds list the Sharks as an underdog again at +117 while the Canucks are -129 and the total for the game is a mere 5 goals.
Can San Jose keep the ball rolling in this game? After all, both of these teams play better on the road than they do on home ice.
Being that this is the late game, there's no confirmation of the starting goalies as of yet. For now, we expect Antti Niemi to be in net for the Sharks. For the season, Niemi is 24-17-7 with a 2.62 GAA. Niemi coming off of 3 consecutive losses and the Sharks shut out the Canadians without him, therefore the goalie situation is definitely up in the air for San Jose.
For the Canucks, Eddie Lack should be between the pipes for tonight's game. Lack is coming off of a 6-5 win in a shootout over the St. Louis Blues. Despite the victory, Vancouver can't be too happy with Lack as he's allowed 10 goals in his last 2 starts.
While Henrik and Daniel Sedin lead the Canucks in points, Vrbata is the big time goal scorer on this team. For the season, Vrbata has 22 goals and 22 assists. He's coming off of a 2 assist effort against St. Louis. Vrbata also excels on the power play and leads the Canucks in game winning goals and shots on goal. I definitely expect him to be a factor in what should be a highly contested matchup.
While Vrbata provides Vancouver the best chance to score goals, one can't forget about the play of leading scorer Henrik Sedin. Sedin scored his 13th goal of the season against St. Louis and in his last 5 games, he has 1 goal and 6 assists. This is a great set up man who's next point will be his 900th in his lengthy career. Look for Sedin to get point number 900 via the assist tonight.
Solid At the Center Position
Center is a key position on the Sharks team and there will be plenty of opportunity tonight as they face a goalie in Lack, who has been vulnerable as of late,
While all-time great, Joe Thornton (41 assists), is the big set man for the Sharks, San Jose has two guys that can light the lamp in Joe Pavelski (32 goals, 27 assists) and Logan Couture (21 goals, 33 assists).
Both Couture and Pavelski have over 200 shots on goal already this season and Pavelski has been effective all season long as he's in line for a 40 goal, 80 point season. Pavelski is coming off of a 1 goal, 1 assist effort against Montreal and was effective the first 3 times that the Canucks and Sharks have met this season. He logs a ton of ice time for a center man and is huge on the power play. Expect Pavelski to be a key figure in this matchup as the Sharks really need some points out of this game. Take the Sharks with your NHL picks.
NHL Pick: San Jose +115 at 5Dimes