The Nashville Predators have fought hard, but they have nothing to show for it, as they head home in a 2-0 deficit to the San Jose Sharks. Notably, in Game 2, where the Preds probably outplayed the Sharks, but lost the contest by a score of 3-2. The Sharks have been opportunistic, taking advantage of all opportunities that arise near the net. This is different, much different than the Sharks of old. A team that would often choke when a golden situation came up. In 2016 they are looking like a favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
They have certainly become a fancy pick, but there is a long way to go for the Sharks. The Sharks are taking it one game at a time though, which is something they couldn’t conceive in the past. The combo of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Pavelski is not going to be around for much longer, so they’re making the most of it now. All are long time Sharks, but have disappeared in playoff play. This season has been different, it’s felt different, too.
The Predators outshot the Sharks by a margin of 39 to 25, yet it wasn’t good enough. The Preds found the back of the net with 2 seconds left to cut the lead to 3-2, but they ran out of time to get another and force overtime. I noted a couple weeks ago that Martin Jones is the most underrated goalie in these playoffs. Perhaps people are starting to notice him now? I think it would take a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals to garner some. Rinne has to steal the spotlight from Jones tonight. The Preds can get back into the series with a win tonight, which amounts to almost a must-win scenario.
San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators NHL Playoffs Pick
The Sharks were resting up at home for quite a while between the first-round to second. Meanwhile, the Predators went to the very end with the Anaheim Ducks. The Predators ultimately edged out the Ducks in Game 7. Extra time off works in one of two ways, either you collect some rust, or it’s a nice way to tend to the bruises. For the Sharks, as hot as they were against the Kings, keeping things going with no break always seems like the best route.
Nevertheless, the Sharks have showed no signs of being rusty, as they have a 2-0 stranglehold on the series. They can send a big jolt to their cause with a win tonight. The Sharks also won two at home, a place they have been awful at during the year. San Jose has gone 30-10-2 on the road, while the Preds have a solid home record of 24-13-5.
The Predators know they have no easy task on their hands. Even with a win tonight, they are behind the 8-ball. The Predators have to crack Jones. They played well in the last game, and if they play like that again in Game 3, it should result in a win at home. Jones hasn’t typically played well against the Predators, prior to the playoffs, note that he had a 3.62 GAA against them with a 0.863 save percentage. This series is the Sharks in my opinion, but the Predators are not going to get behind 3-0. While the Ducks are chokers, beating them takes a pretty good team, so it isn’t like this is some juggernaut against a lousy team. They earned their way here. It looks like a Preds win tonight to make this series interesting.
PICK: PREDATORS TO WIN -117