Stanley Cup Playoffs: Sharks & Over 5 Our NHL Picks For Game 6

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 1:36 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 25, 2016 1:36 PM UTC

Of the 11 games played in the Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the visiting team has won seven of them, get our top NHL pick inside this article.

Teams fight all season to secure home ice advantage in the playoffs, but when teams are evenly matched, a few breaks or extra effort on a particular night can make the difference more so than the energy from the home crowd.

Though San Jose is 6-2 at the Shark Tank in the postseason, for the entire season they are 24-25 SU. St. Louis is a sharp 6-3 in the traveling whites and 31-19 SU for this campaign away from home.

This series has been about imposing will and keeping composure, who has the edge for NHL picks?

St. Louis Has To Settle Down and Be Themselves
Going into the West Finals, is was supposed to be a matchup the Blues brute force against San Jose's speed, and if the series was based on the team who has played their style the best, the Sharks would already being advancing, having been the better club in four of the five conflicts.

For St. Louis to advance, they have to play their game which is physical hockey, win the corner scrums and play great defense. Coach Ken Hitchcock took calculated risk in starting Jake Allen in net in Game 4 and it worked, but in next outing, Allen and the defense were slow, which has forced the coach to go back to goalie Brian Elliott. It worked for Pittsburgh last night in similar scenario and the Blues will have to hope it can work for them.

However, St. Louis has to play aggressive yet with poise. They were overanxious on penalty kills Monday and allowed two goals. Also, after scoring 13 points in the first two rounds, top goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko has been blanked in the series and they really need his offense starting tonight.


San Jose Has to Live in the Present
For players like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, it could be very easy to think about past failures and be too amped up given their playoff careers. Needing just win to reach the Cup Finals for the first time, they and their Sharks teammates have to be laser-focused on the present and understand they have been the better team in the series and if they bring the energy in a controlled manner, skate to their abilities, San Jose will advance.

This is easier said than done because for the first time, the motivation is not revenge or being a truly better team like in the Nashville series win, it is about just playing the game and all the mental and physical preparation cannot determine how you or your teammates will react in this situation.

For San Jose, it is acting like a shark, being single-minded and focused on the task at hand.


How Does Total Shape Up?
The first three games were easy UNDER's and the last two were easy OVER's against the NHL odds. A quick look at the numbers suggest special teams has impacted the totals directly. In the first trio of contests, the teams were a combined 3 for 19 with a man advantage. In the past two battles, there has been five goals in 15 tries (plus one shorthanded goal).

With the total at 5 again, on the surface nothing stands out, but we did uncover the Blues are 12-5 OVER after allowing two goals or more in the third period of last game and the Sharks are 13-4 OVER after permitting three scores or more in two straight encounters this season.


What to Expect and Winner
BetonLine has San Jose as a -138 home favorite to finish out the series. Throughout, they have been the better team in each series, just like they have been in this one. No question their overall SAP Center record is a cause for concern, but since the halfway point of the regular season, they are 21-6 SU against winning teams and the Sharks close the deal 4-3.

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NHL Picks: Sharks -138 & Over 5 -115
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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