Read this preview before placing your NHL pick on San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators, as it could be a potential first-round playoff matchup. The Preds opened as a -155 NHL betting favorite.
The San Jose Sharks Can Win Because…
…is there a good reason? This team looks like it’s coming apart at the seams. The Todd McLellan era has got to be coming to an end at some point and it looks like it could be now. The Sharks are a team that’s Stanley Cup-or-bust, but they know they’re not built for a deep playoff journey. Their goaltending has been weak and their team chemistry is off. This is a veteran unit that can see the writing on the wall and when this happens, sometimes the team quits. That could be what we’re looking at here as the Sharks have been barely competitive over the last couple of weeks. They have home losses to Edmonton, Carolina, Calgary, Washington and Tampa Bay. You’d think they’d be able to at least win a couple of those but they’ve in fact been outscored 24-15 in those contests.
Goaltending is the big concern these days as goaltender Antti Niemi continues to regress. He has a 2.63 GAA and .911 save percentage so far this season, which would be career-worsts for him. He’s been even worse in February, posting a 3.25 GAA and .900 save percentage this month.
The Sharks aren’t playing well as a team, they’re not getting good goaltending and they don’t play well versus Nashville. It’s tough to find a good reason to add them as underdogs in NHL odds.
The Nashville Predators Can Win Because…
The Sharks are slumping…again. They’ve lost six of eight and continue to be quite streaky. Prior to this streak, they had won seven of 11. Before that, they had lost four of five. And before that, they had won nine of 10. The Sharks recent slump has been pretty bad as they’ve lost five of the games at home. This team is supposed to be better at home than away, so if they’re struggling on their own ice, it’s not likely they’ll be better on the road.
Nashville is on a roll right now as they’ve won five straight and seven of eight. Their only loss in that span was to the Anaheim Ducks, who are a pretty good team. Goaltender Pekka Rinne has been phenomenal since he returned, giving up just six goals in his last four starts.
The Preds normally play very well in this series but with the Sharks sinking and the Preds thriving, it's even more reason to take a shot with your NHL picks on Nashville.
This is a series that’s owned by Nashville. They lost the earlier meeting this season but prior to that, they had won six straight matchups. -155 isn’t too rich of a price in this spot as it seems like they’ll be coming away with the win here but I’ll instead go with the under. None of the last eight meetings between the sides have seen more than five goals, so I’ll look for more of the same. And with Rinne being hot and Nashville being the league’s best defensive team at home, giving up just 2.07 per outing, this looks like it should be another low-scoring affair.
NHL Pick: Under 5 at The Greek