Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:45 AM EST.
7:05 PM EST. Overtime included. These are not exactly the best of times for the Jackets or the Sharks but we’re going to trust the talent, coaching and scoring of the Sharks over the pedestrian everything of the Jackets. Bob Bobrovsky can get hot at any time but Martin Jones is his equal so a goaltending edge to either is off the table here.
Over its last 18 games, the Jackets have successive wins just one time. The Jackets are an offensively challenged group that is minus-7 in goal differential for the season but perhaps the most remarkable thing about their struggles is that its last two-goal lead in a game came in late December. Do you know how bad a team has to be playing to not have a two-goal lead or more at any time for more than a month? That means they’ve been in jeopardy of losing every game since then and the metrics back that up. Since December 23, a span of five weeks, the Jackets rank 23rd in 5v5 Score and Venue Adjusted Corsi For % and they rank 24th in Corsi Against/60 over that same span. That puts them in the same range as the Panthers, Canucks, Red Wings, Oilers and Sabres. Over that same span the Jackets rank 25th in Scoring Chances For. 29th in Goals For/60 and 25th in xGF/60. The Jackets have surrendered 43, 39, 38 and 36 shots on net respectively over their last four games and nobody on the team is having a career season. After Artemi Panarin’s 41 points in 50 games, the second leading scorer is Seth Jones with 33 points followed by Oliver Bjorkstrand’s 26 points. This team is stale, beatable and not very good.
Since Joe Thornton went down, the Sharks are 0-3 and they’re in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The media and market is making the loss of Thornton a bigger deal than it actually is because the Sharks have not skipped a beat in terms of scoring chances or puck possession numbers. The Sharks were flat against Detroit on Tuesday but we’ll give them a mulligan for that after they played their hearts out the previous night in Pittsburgh in a misleading 5-2 loss. That game in Pittsburgh was 2-1 Sharks with four seconds left in the second period with the Sharks holding a big edge in puck possession numbers up to that point. An unforced turnover by Brett Burns turned a sure lead after two into a tie and the Penguins turned that momentum into another win. In San Jose Jose’s other loss since Thornton went down, Martin Jones allowed six goals on 29 shots and the Sharks lost 6-5. With a day off between that tired effort in Detroit and this one, the Sharks figure to be reenergized and ready to go here. San Jose is still one of the best teams in the West and they’re playing one of the worst teams in the league. They can absolutely win without their leader and this is precisely the game to prove so.
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San Jose +106 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.12)