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2015 could not have started any better for my NHL picks as a 2-0 start on Friday was just what I was looking for. Hitting picks at +105 and +115 odds always feels good and this time I feel I caught the oddsmakers cheating just a little bit. My first pick of Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh going OVER the 5.5 total was pretty straight forward as Tampa Bay is always an over candidate and throwing in the Penguins to the equation does not hinder that thought one bit. The final score of 6-3 showed just what I explained in my write up; the deepest offensive team in the league vs. a home team with elite offensive talent at the top. My second pick was for the Habs and Devils to get OVER the 5 goal total and that was also accomplished as expected. Montreal put up four goals themselves en route to a 4-2 road victory. This is where I felt the oddsmakers cheated a little bit on the under side, giving +115 odds on the over for just a 5-goal total. That was enough for me to hop all over it and I’m glad I did. There is just a single game on tonight’s schedule but I do have a pick I would like to get out.
San Jose Sharks @ Winnipeg Jets
My Pick – SHARKS (+105)
The San Jose Sharks travel to Northern Canada tonight to clash with the Winnipeg Jets for the second time this season. The Sharks shut out the Jets 3-0 in their first meeting way back in October in San Jose, however since that time it has been the Jets who have exceeded expectation and the Sharks who are on the outside looking in. That being said, these two teams are separated by just two points at the moment thanks to some solid play from San Jose as of late. Before being on the receiving end of a 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, The Sharks gave up just 1.91 goals per game over their previous 11 games and they had a 9-1-0 stretch that ended on December the 20th. The Sharks are finally showing their teeth after a slow start to the season while the Jets ended a three-game home losing streak when the deflated Toronto Maple Leafs came to town on Saturday. Still, Winnipeg owns just a 9-8-3 record on home ice this season, something that needs to improve if they have any sort of playoff aspirations. The Sharks on the other hand have two more points on the road this year than the Jets have at home as their 10-8-3 road record is much improved thanks for a solid month of December. It is unclear as of now who will be in net for San Jose, however Alex Stalock has shutout the Jets both times he has faced them in his career, including earlier this year. The Sharks 21.8% powerplay is back where we are used to seeing it, and the hot hand of Joe Pavelski has been a big help in the absence of Joe Thornton who has been placed on the IR. These two teams do match up quite competitively as many numbers have this looking like a close game, and I agree that this one will probably be tight. However, I do like San Jose tonight to come out hard after a long night against the Blues and look for some redemption against the Jets.