The San Jose Sharks arrive in Tampa Bay after their seven-game winning streak was snapped by of all teams, the Arizona Coyotes. That was the first of eight games on the road in their next nine outings. The Sharks can’t afford to let up now, as they’ve built up an impressive record of 28-14-4. After so many disappointments for this team in the postseason, I don’t think anyone cares about what the Sharks do in the regular season, though.
It’s almost expected at this point that the Sharks are going to look like a contender in the regular season and then watch it all go for nothing in the playoffs. I don’t know if we should expect any different this season, but the Western Conference is there for the taking. It’s wide open with several teams who can get out of the conference and go to the Stanley Cup Final. If the Golden Knights going to the Final last season was any indication enough.
The Lightning intend to be in the Stanley Cup Final at the end of the season. With a record of 36-10-2, they lead the NHL with 74 points. The next closest team in the Eastern Conference is the Maple Leafs with 60 points, so their lead is pretty comfortable. Tampa was downed the Leafs on Thursday night by a score of 4-2.
It was a rare loss for the Lightning at home, but Frederik Andersen was outstanding to keep the game out of reach. Nothing went their way in the 3rd period, as they couldn’t buy a goal to tie the contest up. With the Sharks in town on Saturday, the Lightning get a couple of solid teams back-to-back at home. We’ll see if they get tripped up in consecutive games or they look like themselves against the Sharks tonight. Head below for our free Sharks vs. Lightning pick.
San Jose Sharks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
It was pretty clear that the Sharks did not take the Coyotes seriously. They were outshot 41 to 29, while the Coyotes were determined to put an end to the Sharks’ winning streak. They did it in impressive fashion, with a 6-3 win in the desert. What the Sharks probably didn’t want is to go into Tampa after the Lightning just lost on Thursday.
Despite the loss, the Lightning are still the best home team in the NHL with a record of 19-5. Also, Tampa hasn’t lost two games in a row since way back on November 13th. They have not lost two straight games at home all season long. A loss tonight would be the first occurrence in the 2018-19 season.
In their first meeting this season, the Sharks were not intimidated by the Lightning in a 5-2 game on January 5th in California. They’re not in San Jose for this matchup, though, and they get the Lightning off a loss. It was a rare miss for the Lightning, who are averaging 4.25 goals per game at home.
San Jose have allowed 3.58 goals per game on the road compared to 2.98 goals overall. This is the best game on the menu on Saturday in the NHL. The Sharks are flying under the radar and are a dangerous team, but I expect the Lightning to find a way to respond after their loss on Thursday.
This may have very well been a letdown spot if they did win that game, though it’s tough to see them coming out slow after coming up short in their last outing. They’ve lost two games in a row just once this season, and I don’t see the second time happening in back-to-back showings at home. The Bolts likely win this, but I’d still keep an eye on the Sharks in the future.