Ducks at Sharks Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/27/2013
Perhaps I jinxed the Anaheim Ducks. Last Wednesday, Anaheim hosted the Chicago Blackhawks in easily the most-anticipated game of the season thus far. It was a tremendous game, too, with the Ducks scoring three goals in the final five minutes-plus to win 4-2 and extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games. I had recommended Anaheim and the “under” 5.5 goals – the “over” hit on an empty-netter in the final seconds.
I’m pretty sure the Ducks neither know nor care that I recommended them, but what I do think happened is that they got so amped up for that game and it was such an emotional win that it emptied their tanks. Anaheim has followed the win with three straight home losses, two to Detroit and one to San Jose. The Ducks have been outscored 12-5 in those games. They missed a golden chance to pass Chicago for the most points in the West but still remain only three behind the Blackhawks. And Anaheim gets a chance for immediate payback against the Sharks in San Jose on Wednesday night.
Ducks at Sharks Betting Story Lines
San Jose has been struggling, having lost seven of nine before Monday’s 5-3 win in Anaheim. The Sharks got goals from some unlikely sources. Martin Havlat snapped a 15-game goal drought, Joe Pavelski scored just his second goal in 19 games (first point in eight), and James Sheppard scored his first goal of the season. Pavelski was moved to third-line center alongside Sheppard and T.J. Galiardi, and the new line seemed to click. It was Pavelski’s first game of the season as a center. Tommy Wingels was moved up to the wing on the No. 2 line with Logan Couture and Havlat. The win ended a five-game road trip for San Jose, its longest remaining of the season.
Some wonder if the Sharks were somewhat giving up on this season when they traded solid defenseman Douglas Murray to the scorching-hot Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week. San Jose got second-round picks in 2013 and 2014, which clearly doesn’t help them now. Murray had just three points, but at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds was a physical force and also very good on the penalty-kill. Murray has an expiring contract, so at least the Sharks got something for him before he likely walked this summer. Reports are that San Jose isn’t done trading a veteran for young players or picks. The name most often rumored is forward Ryane Clowe. The Bruins are among contenders reportedly eyeing him. Clowe still hasn’t scored a goal this season and hasn’t played since March 16 due to a shoulder injury. He’s “iffy” for this one. The trade deadline is April 3.
The Ducks have made a minor move, signing veteran winger Radek Dvorak over the weekend. He had four goals and 17 assists with Dallas last year and had been playing in Switzerland. . The 6-2, 195-pound winger ranks sixth among active NHL players in career games played. He has some visa paperwork to get done so probably won’t debut until this weekend.
Could Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth have hit the rookie wall? He has allowed at least three goals in four of the past five games, and the Ducks have lost three of those (he didn’t play vs. Chicago). All signs do point to him in net for this one over Jonas Hiller. The Ducks look tired as a group. Monday was their fifth game in eight days and 17th in the past 30, and they haven't had two consecutive days off since Feb. 22-23. Welcome to the lockout-shortened schedule!
This is the final regular-season meeting between the teams with each winning twice. Only one of them has been in San Jose, a 3-2 shootout Sharks win on Jan. 29. That was Game 6 of San Jose’s 7-0-0 start to the season. Antti Niemi has started every game in goal against the Ducks for the Sharks, and there’s no reason that won’t continue.
Ducks at Sharks NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Sharks have been opened at -115 and Ducks +105 with the total at 5. Anaheim is 15-15-2 over/under (7-7-1 on road) and has won two of its past three as a dog. San Jose is 11-6-4 O/U (4-9 at home) and have won two of their past three as a favorite.
The Ducks are 4-0 in their last four road games vs. a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600. The Sharks are 4-0 in their last four after scoring five goals or more in their previous game. San Jose is 12-2 in its past 14 home games following a road trip of seven or more days. The Sharks are 1-6 in their past seven after a win overall. The over is 4-1 in Anaheim’s past five games. The under is 8-1-2 in the Sharks’ past 11 games following a win. The home team has won four of the past five meetings. The under is 7-3 in the past 10.
Ducks at Sharks Picks and Betting Predictions
A win here would be rather noteworthy for San Jose considering it hasn’t won two straight games in regulation since January. But if the Sharks want to improve their playoff positioning – currently No. 8 in the West – the time is now as this starts a seven-game homestand. San Jose is an excellent 8-1-4 at home, with the lone regulation loss to Chicago. No team has fewer regulation home losses. Niemi has a stellar 1.88 GAA and .932 save percentage at HP Pavilion season.
The Ducks are an equally excellent 9-2-4 on the road. Anaheim hasn’t lost four straight all year – of course, it hadn’t lost three in a row, either – and I think it plays with a bit of extra fire on Wednesday and wins. Also take the over.
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