NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The San Jose Sharks live! Joel Ward tied Game Three against the Pittsburgh Penguins midway through the third period and rookie Joonas Donskoi won it in overtime. The series now stands at 2-1 with Game Four on Monday night back at the SAP Center.

San Jose definitely put up a ‘gutty’ effort in Game Three and they’ll need to do more of the same in Game Four. They also need to understand a very important reality–they have been badly outplayed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in all three games and are very fortunate not to be facing elimination next time out. Most problematic is the way that Pittsburgh has been outshooting San Jose. The Penguins have had 30+ shots on goal in all three games of the series including 40+ in Games One and Three. Fortunately for San Jose, Martin Jones has been up to the task but even with their goalie playing at a very high level the Sharks are down 2-1.

The other component of the ‘shots on goal’ problem–San Jose isn’t getting enough. The Sharks haven’t had more than 26 shots on goal in any of the three games to date. A low shot total isn’t bad intrinsically but only if a team is playing tenacious defense. Getting outshot by an average of 12.5 shots per game doesn’t qualify.

Pittsburgh played very well in Game Three and fell victim to an excellent goaltending performance and some opportunistic scoring. If the Penguins do the same thing in Game Four that they’ve done in every other game in the series there’s a very good chance they’ll win. This is particularly true if San Jose doesn’t make the necessary adjustments to put more pucks on Penguins’ goaltender Matt Murray and to make life easier for their own netminder.

Ultimately, every handicap comes back to line value. At worst, this is a ‘toss up’ series. At best, Pittsburgh is clearly the better team in better form. A split in San Jose would send the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 with the Penguins up 3-1 and in a position to close out the Sharks. At any rate, they’re the play at this price.


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