Sharks vs. Red Wings Pick – NHL March 26th

The San Jose Sharks travel out east to play the visitors role in downtown Detroit tonight at the Joe Louis Arena against the Red Wings. The Wings have had a great season by all accounts. With a record of 39-21-3-9 record they have pretty well played better than a lot of people were expecting. They were weren’t capitalizing on anything last year, as they struggled for most of the season. But note that was one banged up team. Comparing the Wings from last season to this season is an impossible thing to do. It is comparing apples to oranges, as this is a different and healthy roster. A healthy Zetterberg and Datsyuk will certainly do that. However, they have hit a bump on the road of late, going only 3-7 in their last ten games. I suspect Babcock will having them playing focused hockey come playoff time, so unless they have some kind of unreal collapse where they don’t even make the playoffs, this skid shouldn’t play a role in how they perform in a few weeks time. I’ll be at the game tonight, so it is always nice to win a pick at the games you attend.

The Sharks on the other hand find themselves trying to figure out a way to make it into the playoffs. This is an unfamiliar role for the Sharks. We are used to them playing relatively well and coasting into the playoffs without much problems, but this year they are going to have to fight for it. Coasting into the playoffs hasn’t exactly worked out for them with regards to playoff success in the past, so maybe if they manage to make it in we’ll see a different story this season. The Wings and Sharks have a history against themselves in the playoffs, and they have a history against one another that I think we will be able to take advantage of tonight. Our pick last night was looking bleak early, but a 180 in the 2nd period afforded us some much needed goals. In fact, we got 5 of them, as the Stars jumped out to a 3-2 lead heading into the final frame. The Flames tied it up to push the game OVER the total and give us this win. Let’s look for another tonight in Detroit.

San Jose Sharks @ Detroit Red Wings

The Wings have been a little all over the place. When I say all over the place, I mean they haven’t been an offensive powerhouse nor have they been playing tight defense. In stretches they have been able to show both, but not consistent enough to give them an absolute identity this season. This isn’t a Wings team that used to have the grind line, where you knew what their identity was. You didn’t mess around with them, or else you had Darren McCarty head hunting for somebody to take out. These Wings play more finesse hockey than anything else. It has resulted in them scoring 2.85 goals per game and 2.58 goals against. Their goal scoring is definitely up and that is a welcome improvement, but the defense will need to turn it up a notch if they want to surprise the hockey world in the playoffs. Lately the defense has been getting ripped for 3.50 goals a game in their last ten matchups.

The Wings and Sharks have played in plenty of defensive struggles over time, though. There are certain teams that just match-up a certain way and it turns into a familiar plot. Take the Sharks and Wings for instance in this game. They haven’t played OVER the total in nine games now. Dating back to 2012, the Wings and Sharks have scored less than 6 goals in eight straight meetings. For the record, they went 5-0-3 to the UNDER in those games. As bad as the Red Wings have been playing on defense, I feel like they are going to regress back to the mean in the next few weeks. I see this as a 3-2 win, probably for the Wings, so the it is the UNDER 5.5 for me tonight.