Carolina (11-10-5; 11-15 ATS; 13-11-2 O/U) vs. San Jose (14-10-2; 11-15 ATS; 6-19-1 O/U)
The San Jose Sharks will return home to host the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night from the SAP Center. The Hurricanes were shutout 3-0 by the Canucks on Tuesday night, and the Sharks are coming off a 4-1 road loss to the Capitals in their previous contest. This is the first meeting this season, and each team recorded one win in last year’s season series.
Hurricanes Blanked by Canucks
The Carolina Hurricanes will look to get back on track after they were blanked 3-0 by the Canucks on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes fired 30 shots on goals and limited Vancouver to only 22 shots. Hurricanes leading scorer Teuvo Teravainen has slowed up, recording only one point in his last five games. The 23-year old left-winger has tallied eight goals and 14 assists on the season. Jeff Skinner has only scored one goal in his last nine games. The 25-year old left-winger has been inconsistent at times, and now has 17 points in 26 games with a poor minus eight rating on the season. Carolina has now dropped three out of their last four games and are 4-6 in their last ten games. They own a 5-6-2 record on the road this season. The Hurricanes are scoring an average of only 2.7 goals per game, ranking them down at 27th overall.
The Hurricanes are expected to give the nod in net to Scott Darling. The 28-year old net minder is having a decent season, posting a 2.69 GAA and a .902 save percentage to go with a 7-8-5 record. Carolina is conceding an average of three goals per game, placing them 14th in the NHL.
Sharks Return Home After Four Game Road Trip
The San Jose Sharks return home after going 2-2 on a tough four game road trip. They lost to the Lightning followed by a loss in Washington to close out the trip. Sharks’ leading scorer Logan Couture has been quiet, going three straight games without registering a point. The 28-year old center features a stellar 20% shooting percentage, and has tallied 13 goals along with eight assists on the season. Joe Thornton is starting to heat up, collecting six points in his last seven games. The 19-year veteran is not having a good season for his standards, and has four goals and 12 assist on the season. Thornton has recorded 32 points in 41 career games against the Hurricanes. The Sharks own a 4-6 record in their last ten games as scoring goals has been an issue. They are currently averaging only 2.5 goals per game, ranking them down at 29th in the NHL.
San Jose will likely send Martin Jones between the pipes in this contest. Jones has conceded nine goals in his last two games, however overall he is having an excellent season, sporting a 2.33 GAA to go with a 10-7-1 record. The Sharks are a strong defensive team, allowing an average of only 2.3 goals per game, good for second in the NHL.
The Carolina Hurricanes are:
- 3-12 in their last 15 games following a loss of three or more goals.
- 2-7 in their last 9 games against the Western Conference.
The San Jose Sharks are:
- 4-1 in their last 5 games following a loss of three or more goals.
- 9-3 in their last 12 games against a team with a losing record.
- 21-10 in their last 31 games following a road trip of seven or more days.
I am siding with the Sharks in this contest. The Sharks are the much better defensive team in this matchup, and they should contain a struggling Hurricanes offense. Carolina is only averaging 2.5 goals in their last ten games, and they will have a hard time finding offense against a Sharks team that ranks in the top 3 in the NHL in several defensive categories. Furthermore, the Hurricanes have conceded three or more goals in six out of their last seven games, and the Sharks won’t need many goals to take this one on home ice.