San Jose Continues to Struggle Take Tampa -109 as the NHL Pick

Bruce Webster

Saturday, December 5, 2015 5:43 PM GMT

Our NHL handicapper takes a look at Tampa Bay vs. San Jose game. Check our betting preview as we provide the NHL pick, don't make a move without reading this article.

Contract extension
Tampa Bay signed head coach Jon Cooper to a two-year extension on Friday. And why not? The Lightning’s relatively disappointing 12-11-3 record this season is an aberration as opposed to the rule. Cooper boasts a 112-70-23 record and .602 winning percentage since taking over as coach near the end of the 2012-13 season. He was a Jack Adams Award finalist for the league’s top head coach in 2014 and led the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.

“I’m just a tiny little piece of this whole thing,” Cooper commented. “We’ve built such a team-first attitude that’s one thing from our staff, our team, no one is sitting there saying we’re taking credit for this or I’m taking credit for this. We’re taking credit for this. And that’s what has kept us together especially in difficult times.”

At present, the times are not as high but also not terribly difficult. Tampa Bay has won four of its last six games after beating Anaheim on Wednesday. The team has not lost a game by more than two goals since Nov. 10. After a season-long four-game stretch without a point, center and captain Steven Stamkos has six goals and six assists in his last 14 outings.

 

Home is where the hurt is
The Sharks’ home woes were extended with a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. They are 4-7 at the SAP Center this season following a recent 1-2 home-stand. They are 1-4 in their last five home games.

Even a team that had been absolutely dominated in San Jose of late had no trouble taking care of business this time around. In the past 18 years, the Penguins were 0-11-1 at the SAP Center. For whatever it’s worth, Sharks’ goalie Martin Jones said the contest should have been closer.

“Couple bounces here and there,” he said. “I thought we played pretty well at times, did some good things. I certainly didn’t think it was a 5-1 hockey game.”

Patrick Marleau scored the only goal for the Sharks, who will likely still be without center Logan Couture this weekend. Couture has been sidelined for two months with a broken fibula and is close to returning after looking good in recent practices. But he is expected to play it safe on Saturday and sit out.

 

Trends
The Tampa Bay Lightning are:

4-0 in their last four games against the Western Conference.

4-0 in their last four road games against teams with home winning percentages under .400.

13-3 in their last 16 games against the Pacific Division.

The San Jose Sharks are:

1-4 in their last five home games.

4-0 Over in their last four overall against the NHL odds.


4-0 Over in their last four home games.

The Lightning are starting to play better of late and their head coach certainly has to be feeling good about things with his job security intact. They are 4-0 in their last four games against the Western Conference, while the Sharks are 1-4 in their last five at home. Don’t be surprised if San Jose continues to struggle in its own arena on the second day of a back-to-back and with Couture still gone. Take Tampa as the NHL pick tonight.

NHL Pick: Lightning -109 at Heritage

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