Take Hurricanes As Our Sharp NHL Pick Against Weary Sharks

Swinging Johnson

Friday, February 19, 2016 6:54 PM GMT

Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 6:54 PM GMT

Both teams were in action last night as the Sharks continued their winning ways with their third straight victory while the Hurricanes bowed to the Senators. Let’s review the NHL odds now!

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NHL Pick: Carolina +115 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

San Jose Sharks (30-25, +0.3 units)
Most teams dread road trips but the Sharks view them as destination vacations as evidenced by their 20-8-2 mark away from “The Tank”. Last night the Sharks traveled to Florida to take on the Panthers and it was a defensive struggle with the score knotted at zero until Florida’s Jaromir Jagr drew first blood with his 740th goal becoming only the second player in history to score a goal after turning 44-years-old and putting him one goal behind Brett Hull for third place on the NHL’s all-time scoring leaders. Six minutes later San Jose’s Logan Couture lit the lamp and the game went into an overtime session that would be scoreless, necessitating a shootout. After a series of shootout goals the Sharks finally put this one to bed off of a Joe Pavelski wrist shot that beat Al Montoya to put another check mark in the win column.

The Sharks are middling defensively this season ranking 17th in goals allowed (2.6 GGP) and own a pedestrian penalty killing unit that is ranked 15th killing off 80.8 percent of the opposition’s man-advantage situations. However, goal scoring has been the hallmark of any success they have had this season averaging nearly three goals per game which ranks them 4th in the league and not so coincidentally have a robust power play unit that connects on 22.2 percent of their opportunities which also ranks them 4th in the NHL.

 

Carolina Hurricanes (26-31, -3.5 units)
The ‘Canes find themselves two spots out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture trailing New Jersey and Tampa Bay for the eighth and final spot. They did themselves no favors last night as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Senators in Ottawa, a team that is below Carolina in the standings and vying for the same coveted spot. The Hurricanes outshot the Senators 32-22 but it was a weak goal that broke under the arm of Carolina goaltender Eddie Lack that spotted the Senators with a 2-1 lead. Carolina would tie the game heading into the final period but ultimately it was Ottawa that would notch the game winner and then an empty netter leading to a Carolina defeat.

Jordan Staal leads the team in points with 35 on the season while 23-year-old Jeff Skinner is the top goal scorer with 19. However, offense has not been Carolina’s strong suit this season as they average just 2.4 goals per game (24th) and not surprisingly have an equally anemic power play unit connecting on only 17.3 percent of their chances (24th). Defensively Carolina is 14th in goals against allowing 2.6 goals per game and their penalty killing unit is ranked 11th killing 82.1 percent of their opponents’ man advantage opportunities.

 

Betting Analysis
These clubs have met only once this season and the venue was San Jose where the Sharks notched a 5-2 victory way back in October. The last time these two met in Carolina it was again the Sharks that got the win with a 2-0 decision last season. Not much has really changed as the Sharks are once more far better offensively than the Hurricanes while defensively the teams are virtually identical. Yet, the status of Carolina’s starting netminder Cam Ward is still in doubt with Eddie Lack picking up the slack in his absence. Ward is dealing with a lower body injury since he left the game against the Islanders in a 6-3 Carolina victory on February 13th. Lack has been in net for the previous two games with a 2-1 win over Winnipeg and the 4-2 loss against Ottawa. In total Lack has saved 38 of 42 shots against him in those contests.

If Ward does play consider it a bonus but even with Lack in between the pipes I believe Carolina will be catching San Jose in a tough spot after enduring an overtime frame and then a shootout last night, packing up and flying to Carolina from Florida and taking the ice tonight. Over the past five contests between these two clubs and regardless of venue the Hurricanes are 3-2 and returning +2.9 units to all those who backed them in their NHL picks in those games.  This is a spot play here as the NHL odds makers are installing a weary Sharks club as the visiting chalk but don’t be fooled, Carolina is up to the task.

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