April 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM #51161
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Wild Invade Nearly Impenetrable Shark Tank Thursday Night
The Minnesota Wild will continue their push toward the third seed in the Western Conference Thursday night but their task is a mighty tall one! Standing in Minnesota’s way is the San Jose Sharks who pulled into a tie with Los Angeles for the fourth seed in the West with a shootout win over the Kings on Tuesday night. The Sharks are an incredible 15-1-5 on home ice this season and have gone 10-0-4 in their last 14 at the HP Pavillion. The Sharks have gone 10-1-1 in their last 12 home games against Minnesota to boot!
Minnesota Wild (24-16-3) at San Jose Sharks (23-13-7)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, April 18, 2013
Where: HP Pavillion at San Jose, San Jose, California
Broadcast: NHLN-US, FS-N, FS-WI, CSN-CA
Wild vs. Sharks Betting Lines from betonline.com
Minnesota Wild +1½ -215 +143 Ov 5 +104
San Jose Sharks -1½ +185 -157 Un 5 -115
The Minnesota Wild looked destined to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year just a week ago when they were mired in a 1-5-1 streak in which they scored just a total of eight goals over that span. The team has turned it around in their last three games however going 2-0-1. They have scored nine goals in their last two games – five against Edmonton Tuesday and four against Calgary on Monday.
Jason Pominville has started to pay dividends and has six points in three games, Zach Parise, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and defenseman Ryan Suter each have a three-game point streak and Kyle Brodziak ended an 11-game goal drought with two in a 5-3 victory over Edmonton. Parise has three goals and six assists in a seven-game point streak versus the Sharks. Still, the Wild can’t be counted on to keep the offensive explosion going – they average just 2.56 goals per game.
Goaltender Nik Backstrom is expected to start Thursday after recording his first shutout of the season in the last matchup between the two teams March 23. However he has lost five straight games at the Shark Tank with a 3.68 GAA over that span.
The San Jose Sharks have caught the Los Angeles Kings and are in a position to pass them in the standings – they have been money at home and they get the next three games on home ice. The reason for the Sharks’ success this season – Antti Niemi!
He has been in net for all but two of San Jose’s home games in 2012-13, and has a 1.76 goals-against average in those contests after making 41 saves Tuesday. It was his 21st consecutive start. He’s tied for the NHL lead in wins (22) with Niklas Backstrom and he is second to Pekka Rinne in games (41-39). Incredible!
Offensively the Sharks continue to be somewhat underwhelming with an average of just 2.35 goals per game. Brent Burns seems to be the most dangerous Sharks forward and he was a defenseman all his life until 19 games ago! He has eight goals in 19 games and has three points in his last three while Tommy Wingels – ya – Tommy Wingels is the only other Shark that can be considered hot. He has two points in two games. Patrick Marleau has two points in his last eight games, Raffi Torres has one point in five and Martin Havlat is pointless in his last seven games – yuk!
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Over is 6-2 in MIN last 8 road games.
• MIN are 8-3 in their last 11 road games.
• MIN are 7-3 in their last 10 games following a win.
• SJ are 12-3 in their last 15 vs. Northwest.
• SJ are 7-2 in their last 9 games following a win.
• SJ are 10-3 in their last 13 overall.
• Over is 5-2-1 in the last 8 meetings in San Jose.
Minnesota had won four straight in this series prior to its visit to San Jose earlier this month but they have lost 11 of 12 in the Shark Tank. San Jose simply doesn’t lose at home and with the extra motivation of getting back to level ground with the Los Angeles Kings, you can bet the Sharks will bring their A-Game Thursday. San Jose smells blood and we all know what happens when a Shark smells blood!
Pick: San Jose Sharks -157
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