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2010 Stanley Cup Playoff Picks – Avalanche vs. Sharks

NHL Playoff Betting: Avalanche vs Sharks Series Preview & Pick

Stanley Cup Betting fans sure are getting their money’s worth from the free nhl picks we give out here at Capperspicks.com. Stick with us for the entire 2010 NHL Stanley cup playoff run.

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  • GAME 1: @San Jose, Wed. 4/14, 10:30 p.m.
  • GAME 2: @San Jose, Fri. 4/16, 10:30 p.m.
  • GAME 3: @Colorado, Sun. 4/18, 9:30 p.m.
  • GAME 4: @Colorado, Tue. 4/20, 10 p.m.
  • GAME 5*: @San Jose, Thu. 4/22, 10:30 p.m.
  • GAME 6*: @Colorado, Sat. 4/24, TBD
  • GAME 7*: @San Jose, Mon. 4/26, TBD

Avalanche vs Sharks Odds To Win 7 Game Series:

Avalanche +350, Sharks -500

We scoffed at them all season – I know I did – but the Colorado Avalanche proved us wrong time and time again. Before we knew it, they were in the playoffs. Will the Avs succumb to “happy to be here” syndrome and go quietly against the Sharks? Or will they be the latest team to terrorize the perennial chokers?

(8) COLORADO AVALANCHE vs (1) SAN JOSE SHARKS

The Avs are living proof that the sum of a team’s parts can create a greater whole than many individual superstars can. They didn’t have a Crosby, an Ovechkin, a Kane – but their core of speedy, tenacious, defensively responsible forwards worked extremely well together. Paul Stastny quietly had another strong season in a playmaking role; Chris Stewart delivered on his former first-round promise with a 28-goal season; rookie Matt Duchene emerged as one of the NHL’s top “coach’s pets,” a two-way player every team wishes it had.

The Avs’ also did a decent job stopping opponents from scoring. The “D” wasn’t flashy but guys like John-Michael Liles and Kyle Quincey ate minutes and did enough to support veteran goaltender Craig Anderson, who had a breakout year when finally given a chance to start.

But can this plucky group have a chance against the mighty and deep San Jose Sharks? Love them or hate them, they remain a powerhouse franchise. The line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley was the best in the league for the first half of the season and its secondary scoring from Ryan Clowe, Joe Pavelski and Devon Setoguchi is excellent. Sports Betting at Sportsbook.com

San Jose’s blueline, featuring the stud Dan Boyle and other great skaters like Marc-Edouard Vlasic, is solid as can be. It’s handled much more developed and star-studded forward groups than what Colorado will throw at them, so I have to think it will be up to the challenge.

In theory, the Sharks should have the goaltending advantage. Evgeni Nabokov plays 70-plus games a year and consistently posts outstanding numbers. But he melted down it the postseason last year, going 2-4 with a 2.82 goal against average and .890 save percentage. He was also putrid for Russia during the Olympics.

Nabokov’s question marks – is he a big-game goalie? – reflect San Jose as a whole. Year in, year out, they dominate the regular season only to flop in crunch time. Thornton, Marleau and Heatley have all yet to prove that they can be clutch players. Eventually, the Sharks’ demons could come back to haunt them yet again in these playoffs.

However, the Sharks problems won’t surface in round one. Colorado has been a nice story this season but the Avs are ridiculously ahead of schedule. Half the guys on their team are playing their first career playoff games; they’re not ready to knock off a No. 1 seed just yet, though they may give the Sharks a better run than expected.

Prediction: Sharks in six.

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