The script was oh so familiar against the Vancouver Canucks for the San Jose Sharks. After dumping the Canucks on the road in Vancouver, they came home only to lose to the same team they just beat away from California. For the Sharks, this sounds about right. The Sharks have been woeful at home, but put them on a plane to play elsewhere and they turn into a different team. Note that they are 23-9-3 on the road, but at home they have a record of 12-14-3. On the opposite side, the Flames wish they could win anywhere. Whether it’s at home, on the road, at a local arena, or on a pond. In any locale, the Flames would be hard pressed to find much success. We certainly will give them credit for defeating the Penguins on Saturday, but that was their first win in eight games. Over their past twelve games the Flames have gone 2-10. The Flames success last season is all but a distant past, not finding the ability to build off it.
The writing is on the wall for the Sharks here. I know what’s coming and if you follow hockey, you know what is coming as well. The Sharks are sitting at 35-23-6 on the season, a respectable figure which should earn them a seat in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Sharks, though, they have had to vacate that seat regularly in the postseason. I don’t feel any differently about the Sharks this season. The same scenario should play out. It’s my assertion that they do not have the kind of team that can churn out a playoff run. This is not to say they’re a bad team, but they don’t have the sort of confidence and killer attitude in the playoffs which we see from some other teams, ala the Blackhawks. However, all I’m concerned about is cashing in tonight. The Sharks have been a profitable regular season team, this year being no exception. They hit the road tonight, where they put their stellar record on the road to the test tonight against the Flames in Calgary.
San Jose Sharks vs. Calgary Flames NHL Pick
You have read me say multiple times that the problem with the Flames is defense. No one will dispute that. So, why did the trade away one of their better players on the blue line, Kris Russell? The Flames essentially did what they thought would be a wise decision for them in the future. It is in no way a move to make them better for the remainder of the year. I’m sure the proper course of action here anyway, would be to tank the rest of the season. There are members of the defense on the injury front as well. Also, Dennis Wideman is gone with a 20-game suspension after pushing an official down. The most recent causality was Jakub Nakladal, who took a stick to the face. He is questionable to play tonight. Nakladal is just a filler for their depleted blue line. Now the Flames will have to dig deeper into their roster.
The Flames are tied for last in the NHL defensively. They and the Coyotes are both allowing 3.12 goals against per game. The last time the Flames have allowed less than 2 goals was all the way back on February 3rd against the Carolina Hurricanes. In other words, it has been seventeen games since the Flames have had a really good game defensively. In their last ten games, the Flames have given up 3.70 goals a game. They played well against the Pens, but they have an offense coming in tonight which is 4th in the NHL. I was originally thinking of going with -1.5 on the Sharks, but I think the easier play is on the OVER in this one. The Sharks should be able to cut into this Flames’ defense with relative ease. Although, the Flames have had success against the Sharks offensively lately. Note that they have scored 15 goals in their last three meetings against San Jose. This looks like the top play on the board to me for Monday night. An entertaining game should be in store.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-105)