By Andrew Lauro – Wannamakeabet Staff Writer
San Jose Sharks 14-8-2 (+144) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 17-6-2 (-160)
The Sharks are on a 3-game winning streak coming off a 2-1-win last night against the Florida Panthers. The Lightning haven’t played since Wednesday night, losing 2-1 to the Boston Bruins. The Lightning are the more rested team giving them the advantage in this game. Their home record is 9-2-1 while San Jose’s road record is 7-2-1.
The Sharks lead the league with giving up the fewest goals with 51 GA (2.13 average), but their offense does not score a lot they are 30th in the league with 62GF (2.58 average) Their powerplay isn’t very effective, but their penalty kill is 2nd in the league at 88.6%. Since the Sharks played last night it’ll be interesting to see who they put in net tonight. Aaron Dell started last night and played a great game stopping 39 of 40 with a SV% of .975 and giving up 1 goal. Considering that he started I think Martin Jones will get the nod tonight, Jones is 10-5-1 with a GAA of 2.05 a SV% of .930 with 2 shutouts on the season. Jones has only seen the Lightning 3 time in his career posting a record of 2-1-0, but according to his stats he plays great on the road (52-29-6) than at home (46-33-7). Also, his career record against eastern teams is 44-19-3 with a GAA 2.26 an SV% of .917 including 9 SO. If Jones gets the start tonight, and the Sharks keep up the great defense they will win this game.
The Lightning have the top 2 scorers in the league Steven Stamkos with 37 points, and Nikita Kucherov with 36 points. Stamkos leads the NHL with 26 assists coming into this game, and Kucherov is 2nd in the league with 17 goals. They are 3rd in the league with 89 GF (3.56 average). They are 4th in the league giving up the fewest goals with 64 GA (2.56 average). Their powerplay is 1st in the league at 27.4%. They haven’t played since Wednesday, so I think Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the start. He is having a stellar season till this point. His record is 16-4-1 a GAA of 2.23 and a SV% of .932. His record against the Sharks is 1-1-0 with a GAA of 1.84 and a SV% of .938. These numbers are great, but he lacks experience against this team and the same could be said for Jones as well.
We have 2 of the best goalies in the league going head to head tonight, and the Lightning with the best PP in the league going against the Sharks 2nd best PK in the league. This is going to be an exciting game to watch.
These teams head to head the past 10 games:
|Shots Per Game Average||33.40||28.80|
|# of PP’s||28||26|
|3-1 as Dog||13-6-1 as Fav|
Considering the head to head numbers and the Sharks road record I’d take the Sharks in this one at +144.