It’s a busy night in the NHL and here at Pucking Hockey we have a free NHL pick in the San Jose Sharks vs Boston Bruins match-up.
Many are predicting that this could be a preview of the Stanley Cup Finals, but let’s be honest with ourselves. We are just 3 weeks into the season and there’s no possible way to predict the Stanley Cup finals just yet. Therefore, let’s focus on tonight’s match-up and see who has the upper hand.
It’s been over a decade since the Sharks played the Bruins on the road but they will look to continue their road dominance at TD Garden. What I’m trying to say is, past trends will not play a factor into tonight’s match-up. But what will play a factor tonight is goaltending.
Antti Niemi in my opinion has been proving doubters wrong since he entered the league. It seems like every time I see him in action he’s this imaginary brick wall that no one can figure out. And in his career Niemi is 5-0-0 with a 1.77 GAA and one shutout lifetime against the Bruins.
Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Not only has goaltending been a huge factor in the Sharks success this season, depth on the overall roster has given them that extra leap over a lot of NHL teams. Their last game though did scare me a bit where they only managed to score one goal, that came in a shootout. We have seen these very Sharks squad start hot in the past then cool off, having trouble finding the back of the net.
Looking at the other end of the ice, the Boston Bruins will be in a back to back situation where they faced the rival Sabres last night. It was a pretty physical game but nothing compared to what the rivalry used to be. If anything, it was extra practice for Boston. The Bruins won 5-2 and will be without Loui Eriksson for quite some time.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask will be in between the pipes tonight. Rask has allowed more than two goals only once in his seven starts and is third in the league with a 1.29 GAA. He’s never faced the high scoring Sharks.
San Jose Sharks – Antti Niemi
Boston Bruins – Tuukka Rask
For the Bruins to win this game, especially in a back to back situation – although I’m sure last night seemed like practice – they will have to get physical with the high flying Sharks. That’s the only way they are going to slow them down, unless Tukka Rask can save 50+ shots tonight.
For me, I have seen the Sharks start hot then trail off around the 9 game mark. Tonight is their 10th game. But as I do every season, I will back the Sharks until they do cool off.
San Jose Sharks -110 ($100)
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