San Jose Sharks @ Dallas Stars – American Airlines Center at 00:30

More hockey action as I divert my attention to the west. The Dallas Stars welcome San Jose to Texas with their playoff aspirations all but over. On the other hand the Sharks lead the Pacific as they hope to emulate last years post season run.

Struggling Sharks

The San Jose Sharks have not had the best of weeks so far. They have lost four straight although they are two points clear in their division. Despite their recent struggles, it has been another strong campaign under the guidance of Peter DeBoer. The head coach led the Sharks to their first Stanley Cup final last year. They will want to have another long post season and could well be on their way by securing the first seed in the Pacific. It would be nice to see veterans such as Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau get some team hardware.

Defenceman Brent Burns leads San Jose in points with 70. The 32-year old is more than likely going to notch up a couple of Norris votes. He was the runner-up last year for the award.

Disappointing Dallas

It wouldn’t be an over exaggeration to say that Dallas’ campaign has been underwhelming at best. With only nine games remaining, the Stars need a miracle if their season is to continue next month. The franchise have a subpar 29-33-11 record that leaves them sixteen points adrift of the picture. The sharp decline is quite hard to muster considering they won fifty games last year. Not only did Dallas win their division, they also sat atop of the Western Conference. Nevertheless they were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by St. Louis.

Dallas’ two most integral players Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have had strong campaigns. Seguin leads in goals alongside Benn (24) and points (68). Both players are known for their goal scoring abilities but have found that hard to come by this season. Seguin had 33 goals in the same amount of games played last season and Benn scored 41 in 82 games last year. The goaltending is still an issue for the Stars. Both Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi have struggled for consistency in the crease.

Prediction

These two teams have faced off twice this season with a win each. Dallas were the victors in the last matchup, more surprisingly they also shutout the Sharks in the process. Dallas do have a pretty solid record at home (19-12-6) and San Jose have tallied 19 wins away from Northern California. The value on San Jose to get the win in regulation is pretty good at 2.20 with a -0.5 handicap. Their poor run of form has to end sooner rather than later.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: San Jose Sharks -0.5 at 2.20 (excluding OT)

Prices correct at time of writing

By @The_Drewse

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