The San Jose Sharks are in search for the jugular tonight in Nashville. A win would send them to the Western Conference Finals and put another exclamation point on their run in the playoffs. While some people wait for the choking Sharks to show up and reveal their true colors, others are proclaiming that this is a different team. If they lose this series, I can’t deny they choked their season away again. However, there is a scent in the air, a different kind of scent from the team that couldn’t get over the hump and find the finals.
The Sharks are playing like a team with confidence, and a team that could beat any team right now. Put them against any of the remaining teams and I would be hard pressed to say that they cannot defeat the opposition. Get by the Predators tonight, and then they can start focusing on the next task at hand: reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
As wide open as the NHL is throughout the season, it’s still wide open at this point in the playoffs, with no clear number 1. This isn’t the NBA, parity exists, probably more than any other sport. I can’t really make it through an NBA playoff game at this point, with the ultimate finals matchup pretty well set in stone. Heck, it was set in stone months ago. In the NHL, nothing is ever set in stone, any team can win, which makes these playoffs so exciting. So yes, the Sharks can rewrite history and shake their chokers’ tag. Goaltender Martin Jones has been a pretty potent weapon for the San Jose Sharks in net.
He isn’t getting much credit, but his contributions have been noticed by me. There were some issues with the talent level of the new Canadian goalies coming up, but Martin Jones and Matt Murray are doing their best to be the next big netminders between the pipes for Canada. After getting sloshed in Game 5, a 5-1 decision, the Predators will need a win tonight to stay alive. The last time we were in Nashville, the Preds got a 4-3 win in overtime. If it weren’t for that win, the series would probably be done by now. I provide additional thoughts blow.
San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators NHL Playoffs Pick
The Sharks will want to close this series out tonight. That goes without saying, but the Sharks haven’t been the best of teams at home. The Game 5 blowout may have been their best performance at home all season long, especially given the circumstances of that game. The Sharks have actually gone 3-0 on the road in this series, yet to win on the road in Nashville. San Jose is 22-20-4 at home, including the playoffs, while they are 31-11-4 on the road. No, playing away from home does not bother them at all. Although, we haven’t seen the trend come to fruition in this series.
The Sharks can add one of the biggest road wins of the season to their resume tonight. In previous years, I think the perception here would be that the Sharks are going to blow the series. Not now, people are expecting them to win. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau aren’t going to get many more opportunities to hoist the Cup, they see this as the year. The Sharks haven’t won on the road yet this series, something they have been masters of doing throughout the season. If the Sharks play half as good as they did in Game 5 it’s going to be lights out in Nashville. I don’t think the Sharks are going to lay back and take a free pass , they just saw what happened to the Ducks for doing the same thing against the Predators. I expect the Sharks to close the series out tonight and advance.
PICK: SHARKS TO WIN -105