NHL Picks: Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks Odds: November 10th 2011
Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks
NHL Pick: San Jose Sharks -150 odds (November 10th 2011)
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This is the first meeting between Minnesota and San Jose since the two teams conducted three different trades with each other in the offseason. So far, so good for both teams as Minnesota is tied for third in the Western Conference with 19 points while the Sharks are two points back and tied for sixth place with Los Angeles. A win here would be big for San Jose to close the gap and it is certainly eager to show which team got the better of the deals heading into this season.
Minnesota is riding a five-game winning streak and it has done so thanks to an excellent defense and outstanding goalkeeping. The Wild have allowed only three goals over this stretch and have not allowed a power play goal, stopping 21 chances. Goalie Josh Harding has made four starts, allowing three goals while Niklas Backstrom made 41 saves in a shutout last game. Both have struggled against the Sharks as Harding allowed five goals in his only start while Backstrom is 1-5-1 with a 3.39 GAA in San Jose.
San Jose’s defense has not been nearly as good but the offense has made up for it, scoring at least three goals in eight of its last nine games. After starting the season 1-3, the Sharks have caught fire, going 7-1-1 over its last nine games and the power play has been huge of late, hitting 23.8 percent over the last six games and at home San Jose is converting 28 percent of its power play opportunities. The Sharks are outshooting opponents 40.7-28.8 at home while Minnesota is getting outshot by 7.4 shots per game on the road.
With two days off, goalie Antti Niemi is expected to get the start tonight. He is 5-2-1 and while he possesses a 2.96 GAA, the offense behind him has been outstanding as the Sharks have averaged 3.1 gpg in those eight starts. Facing Minnesota is one big reason he will be between the pipes as he is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and one shutout against Minnesota. San Jose is 8-0-1 over the last nine home meetings with the Wild and the Sharks are 10-2 in their last 12 games playing with two days rest. 3* (64) San Jose Sharks -Matt Fargo