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NHL Free Pick: Wild vs. Sharks Betting Lines & Preview

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Weekly NHL Betting action sees the Minnesota Wild taking on the San Jose Sharks December 11 at SAP Center. Cappers Picks provides free NHL handicapping tips all season long.

Two Western Conference teams with serious playoff aspirations meet in San Jose on Thursday night when the Minnesota Wild visit the Sharks.

Daily NHL Hockey Odds

Minnesota (15-10-0-1) at San Jose (15-11-0-4)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, December 11, 2014
Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California
Broadcast: FS-N, FS-WI, CSN-CA
Wild NHL Betting Odds: +1½ -245 +126
Sharks NHL Betting Odds: -1½ +205 -139
NHL Over/Under Betting Odds: 5
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The Wild have gone just 6-7-1 on the road this season but have won four of their last five away from home while the Sharks – they are uncharacteristically average on home ice – 6-4-2 although they have won four of their last five games overall.

It is the second meeting of the season between the two teams – the Wild emerged victorious in the first one – 4-3 in a shootout October 30.

The Minnesota Wild have had their problems at the Shark Tank – they have just two wins in their last 15 trips to San Jose and figure to have their hands full again Thursday. They have been an inconsistent team to say the least – they have alternated wins and losses far too often as of late.

The Wild has allowed nine goals on 40 shots the past two games and will be without one of their top blueliners Keith Ballard after sustaining multiple injuries after an ugly hit Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Darcy Kuemper will be between the pipes hoping to stop the bleeding – he is 11-8-0 on the season with a 2.47 GAA and .905 save percentage but is 1-1-0 with a 3.33 GAA and .838 save percentage in his last two starts overall.

The Wild offense will have to show up Thursday night and they look to be in decent form ahead of Thursday’s showdown. Mikko Koivu has eight points in the past seven games, LW Zach Parise has 12 points in the past 10 games and RW Jason Pominville has five-game points streak. Thomas Vanek has five points in his last five games and Ryan Suter has posted four points in his last two games. The team is 28th in the NHL on the power play – something that will have to change if they hope to reverse their fortunes in San Jose.

The San Jose Sharks, like the Wild have been just OK lately – nothing stands out about their game. They have won five of their last six games overall but the loss over that span was to the lowly Oilers.

The Sharks are averaging 2.80 goals per game this season – OK but far from the elite level that this team needs to be a true contender. Tommy Wingels has 10 points in his last six games, Patrick Marleau has nine points in his last six games, Joe Pavelski has five points in four games, Brent Burns has four points in four games and Justin Braun has three points in his last three games. San Jose is heading in the right direction offensively and get a crack at a Minnesota defense that has been very generous lately. Some help from Tomas Hertl would be nice – he is pointless in his last three games.

One area of this game that the Sharks will have a distinct advantage is on special teams – San Jose is third in the NHL on the power play (24%) while Minnesota is 28th.

Antti Niemi should get the start in net after Alex Stalock beat the Oilers last time out. He is 11-7-3 this year with a 2.54 GAA and .915 save percentage.

NHL Gambling Trends

• Under is 5-1-2 in MIN last 8 road games.
• Under is 6-2-1 in MIN last 9 games following a win.
• Under is 5-2-1 in MIN last 8 vs. Pacific.
• SJ are 2-6 in their last 8 Thu. games.
• SJ are 52-22 in their last 74 home games.
• MIN are 3-13 in the last 16 meetings in San Jose.
• Home team is 20-7 in the last 27 meetings.

Minnesota is 2-11-2 in its past 15 games at San Jose and they have struggled to string two straight victories together all season long.

NHL Betting 4* Free Play

It is hard to imagine the Wild exorcising their Shark Tank demons on Thursday night – San Jose has their number at home.

San Jose Sharks -139

Special teams will be the difference in this one!

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