Our momentum gained from a Monday night victory was short lived as the Columbus Blue Jackets put a stranglehold on the final Wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 overtime victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. The two points Columbus got last night eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs from playoff contention and all but eliminated the New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals from playoff contention as well. From the Coyotes standpoint, the single point obtained temporarily put them in a tie with the Dallas Stars for the final Wildcard spot in the Western Conference, however the Stars would go on to beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a shootout, to increase their lead over Phoenix to two points with just three games remaining. Ironically, Columbus and Dallas meet tonight to complete the game that was postponed due to Rich Peverley’s heart scare about a month ago, with both teams hopeful to increase their respective leads in the Wildcard standings. However, we will be focusing on a Pacific Division matchup tonight in which both teams are battling for top spot in the division.
San Jose Sharks @ Anaheim Ducks
My Pick – SHARKS (+100) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)
The San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks will clash tonight at the Honda Center in Southern California to help determine who will end the season atop the Pacific Division standings. If Anaheim is victorious this evening, it will ensure their spot at the top of the Pacific standings and move them into first place overall in the Western Conference, putting them in a great spot to put a stranglehold on home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. San Jose can spoil those plans with a victory of their own tonight to move within one point of the Ducks and make things very interesting heading into the final two games of the regular season. The Sharks have won two of their last three but were shutout in their most recent tilt against Nashville way back on Saturday night. The Ducks are coming off of an impressive 3-0 shutout victory on the back of rookie goaltender John Gibson’s fantastic NHL debut. However, the Ducks lost their previous two games before that victory to far inferior opponents in the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators. The Ducks know they will face much stiffer competition tonight against a Sharks team who have a 21-14-4 record on the road this season. The Sharks are the NHL’s 5th best defensive team in terms of goals against per game this year and 6th best in goals against per game on the road, surrendering 2.7 goals per game away from the Shark Tank. In fact, 2.7 goals against per game is the exact amount the Sharks have given up against these Ducks over their last ten head-to-head meetings, while averaging 3 goals for per game over that same stretch. San Jose is 6-4 in those games and has held Anaheim’s powerplay to a measly 8.3% clip. The Sharks have bested Anaheim in five of their last six games overall and I expect them to come into Anaheim tonight with a rock solid performance and tighten the race in the Pacific Division and take it right down to the wire. Take the Sharks tonight as the underdog winner in a very close game.