Wings to Continue 'Over' Trend vs. West by Welcoming Sharks

Dana Lane

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 6:00 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 6:00 PM UTC

The Red Wings host the Sharks in an interconference matchup tonight, so with your NHL picks keep in mind that the "over" is 8-2 in Detroit's past 10 against West opponents and 9-4-2 against the Pacific.

Wednesday NHL: Sharks vs. Red WingsFree NHL Pick: Over 5.5 +108Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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We didn’t get the win with Tuesday's NHL write-up, but I made up for that by going 3-0 on SBR’s "Ice Guys Show," seen live on the SBR YouTube page every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9 a.m. ET. There isn’t another hockey show out there that gives you as much information pertaining to that day’s card.

Despite that success, I’m focused on getting Tuesday's loss back with this column.

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Coach Blashill speaks following our first practice after the All-Star Game. #LGRW

— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 30, 2018

You must give Jeff Blashill credit. He still believes his Detroit Red Wings, with 34 games left, can make the playoffs. Mathematically possible, for sure, but the reality is they are 15 points behind Toronto for the third spot in the Atlantic and 10 points behind Philadelphia for the last wild-card slot.

“We have the players to do it,” Blashill said. “We play good hockey almost every single night. We just need to get that little fraction better on a night-by-night basis, gain confidence, and go.”

We just need them to be good for one night.

Their first practice after the All-Star break was described as “rigorous,” which I would expect after a break. I’m a believer that there are a few points in the season where team mentally reboots, with the first game after the All-Star break being one of those checkpoints. Teams really focus on making their weakness a strength, which is offensive in the Wings case. Usually, this inspired effort lasts a few games until they fall back into what their team DNA determines is their eventual fate. Again, we only need them to be good for one game.

For a playoff run to happen, the Wings must be better than their 27th-ranked offense indicates they are. Right now, only Detroit's second line is producing. They must get more production from their top unit tonight. Henrik Zetterberg has just one assist in his past five games, and Gustav Nyquist has been non-existent in his last 10 games with three total points.

The San Jose Sharks are playing their second game of a back-to-back after losing 5-2 to Pittsburgh. The Sharks are 11 points behind Vegas in the Pacific Division, so this and every game is important if they have any vision of catching the leaders. It won’t be easy without Joe Thornton, who is out six weeks with a knee injury, but that won’t stop me from looking at this "plus-money over" with my NHL picks.

Since Thornton's injury, San Jose has gone from a team you can rely on defensively to a team that has easily cashed three straight "overs." Coach Pete DeBoer’s team allowed 42 shots to Pittsburgh, which had something to do with a few roster and position changes. Guys who are asked to do different things usually take some time to find a comfort zone, and I think this discomfort leads to more offense. We might even find out that the Sharks are a better offensive team from a speed and possession standpoint.

Checking out the NHL odds board, let’s get some "plus money" tonight with the Sharks-Wings game.

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