NHL four-fold: Top Tuesday choices to boost midweek profits
On a fine run of form thanks to their impenetrable defence, the Sharks head our weekly ice hockey picks...
San Jose Sharks to beat Buffalo Sabres –
The Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks are looking to extend their impressive form in this game against Buffalo Sabres, who are second last in the Atlantic Division.
San Jose have a record of 8-1-1 from their last ten games, and have proved that they should be considered one of the Western Conference’s strongest Stanley Cup contenders.
The Sharks’ success is largely due to their brilliant defence.
Their goals against per game average is 2.26, and they have allowed just 27.2 shots against per game, ranking inside the NHL’s top three in both categories..
The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, have allowed a league-high 33.7 shots against per game.
And when the Sabres hold a lead in a game, their SAT percentage drops to a meagre 40.44 per cent – again, ranking worst in the NHL.
Buffalo struggle to take control of a game and that’s very unlikely to happen against the Sharks.
Ottawa Senators to beat St Louis Blues –
The Ottawa Senators are showing signs of improvement since last season, with their defence now performing at a level that gives them the chance to make the playoffs.
Ottawa have raised their offensive game lately as well. The Senators’ record from their last 10 games is just 5-3-2, but they have scored a whopping 3.40 goals per game during that period.
If they can keep up their offensive production, they should do well.
The St Louis Blues have been very dodgy defensively, averaging 3.04 goals against per game, which ranks 26th in the league.
They Blues could also struggle with fatigue here, having faced the Flyers in Philadelphia just last night.
Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Dallas Stars –
The Toronto Maple Leafs have an excellent chance to strengthen their position in the playoff race when they face the Dallas Stars.
The Stars have been leaky at the defensive end, with their 3.17 goals against per game ranking second-highest in the league.
This is partly due to some major problems with their goaltending. Both goaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi possess a save percentage just barely over 90 percent.
Dallas’ penalty kill percentage of 73.1 is also the worst in the NHL, which spells trouble against a team with such serious firepower in their line-up.
The Leafs have racked up 3.12 goals and 32.3 shots per game, both of which are top-six ratings in their respective stat categories.
Toronto has also recorded an impressive power play percentage of 23.4, which is the second-best number in the league.
They are likely to outshoot the Stars in this one and grab the two points to help their push for the playoffs.
Minnesota Wild to beat Winnipeg Jets –
The Minnesota Wild sit atop the Western Conference standings, thanks at least in part to their performances on the road.
The Wild already have a great away record of 17-6-5, and now have a nice matchup against a team they have already beaten twice this season.
With players like Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler, the Winnipeg Jets can threaten offensively.
But the Wild have all the tools to stop the Jets’ dangerous forwards.
Minnesota are averaging the third-fewest goals against in the league, rank second in the PDO stat category and their goaltender Devan Dubnyk is in the top three in goals against average, save percentage, wins and shutouts.
The Wild’s offence is almost as great, with 11 players who have reached the 20 point milestone. Only one team - the New York Rangers - have more.