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SAN JOSE SHARKS (7-2-2) VS COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (3-7-2) GAME TIME @ 7:00 PM EST
So far this month has been different for the San Jose Sharks after riding high for the month of January. After averaging 3.86 goals per game during its franchise-best 7-0-0 start, San Jose has struggled to score while going 0-2-2 over its last four games.
The Sharks have scored just 5 goals in their last four games. And they have only scored once in their last 25 power play attempts. However, they may be able to jump-start their offense against the Blue Jackets, who rank near the bottom of the West in goals allowed (38).
Columbus had scored nine goals in its previous three games before Sunday, but the power play has struggled most of the season, going 4 for 46 over the past 10 contests.
It may not be any easier against the Sharks, who have improved their penalty killing. After allowing a power-play goal in each of its first three games, San Jose has killed 34 straight short-handed situations.
Offense could also be hard to come by against Antti Niemi, who is 3-1-2 with a 1.58 goals-against average in his last six starts. He’s also won four of five career starts with a 2.64 GAA against the Blue Jackets.
The key for the Sharks to win this game is to capitalize on power play chances while dominating 5 on 5 with their top guns of Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, and Couture. There’s no reason why the Sharks can’t skate out of Columbus with a win in this match-up. The only thing that I don’t like about this game are the -170 odds, but sometimes in the NHL you have to play those high juiced games.
San Jose Sharks -170 ($1,000)
PHOENIX COYOTES (5-4-3) VS COLORADO AVALANCHE (4-6-0) GAME TIME @ 9:00 PM EST
Over the last four games, Smith owns a .926 save percentage – even including the poor showing against the Blackhawks. He’s stopped 71 of 72 shots – a .986 percentage – in Phoenix’s last three wins.
Phoenix’s physical defense is also helping matters, ranking among the league leaders with 16.1 blocked shots and 27.2 hits per game.
The Avs on the other hand. Have lost five of seven overall and two straight at home as their offense remains among the NHL’s worst with 2.1 goals per game. Colorado’s 7.1 shooting percentage also ranks near the bottom of the league.
Colorado is the only team to be shut out three times already this season, the latest a 3-0 home loss to Anaheim on Wednesday. Colorado has totaled two goals in its back-to-back home defeats after scoring 10 during a 3-0-0 start in Denver.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog, last season’s NHL rookie of the year, has missed six straight games with head and leg injuries and remains out indefinitely.
The Coyotes are just averaging 2.67 goals per game while the Avalanche are only averaging 2.10 goals per game. I expect a tight neutral zone war in this match-up with a tight defensive style game as well. Both goaltenders should be on their games today as well. You have to think the goals are coming for this young talented Avs team, but it won’t start tonight against a defensive style team like the Coyotes.
UNDER 5.5 ($500)
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