Friday NHL odds: San Jose Sharks at Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks are more than 25 percent through their regular season schedule but still have yet to lose a regulation game. They will face a big challenge against a very good San Jose club in a potential Western Conference Finals preview. The Hawks opened as -150 favorites on WagerWeb.com. Check our current lines.
Chicago, which leads the NHL in points with 23 and goal differential at plus-16, does enter off a 3-2 home shootout loss to Anaheim on Tuesday. After Jonathan Toews converted the first shootout attempt for Chicago, Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth stopped Patrick Kane’s backhander and denied Brandon Saad on the right side of the goal to become the first goalie to win his first six NHL starts since Dan Ellis with Dallas and Nashville from Feb. 18, 2004 to Nov. 29, 2007. Nick Leddy and Brandon Saad had Chicago’s two goals.
Even in the overtime, the Ducks nearly handed the game to the Blackhawks with two 4-on-3 power plays. Both times, though, the Blackhawks couldn’t find the net. They were 1 for 7 on power plays for the night. The Blackhawks’ odds of winning didn’t seem great heading into the shootout. They had already lost twice in three shootouts this season, and it hasn’t been an area of strength in recent years. They were 7-7 in shootouts last season.
San Jose (7-3-3) lost 1-0 in overtime at Nashville on Tuesday. Nashville’s Colin Wilson tipped Ryan Ellis’ shot from the blue line past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi 2:08 in OT. San Jose’s power play went 0-for-6, making it 1-for-22 over five games. San Jose has lost six straight after opening the season with seven consecutive wins, a streak ended in a 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville on Feb. 2. The Sharks do at least have a point in three of the losses.
The Sharks were beaten 5-3 at home by Chicago on Feb. 5. Patrick Kane scored the tiebreaking goal for Chicago on what would have been a San Jose power play and then added an empty-netter. The game turned midway through the second period after San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins flattened former Shark Jamal Mayers with a hard check that was called a hit to the head on the ice even though replays showed the contact was with the shoulder. It resulted in a major penalty and ejection for Desjardins. Duncan Keith took exception to the hit and started a fight with Desjardins, getting two additional minor penalties for instigating a fight while wearing a facemask. But instead of a 4-minute power play for San Jose, there were 4 minutes of 4-on-4 play followed by a 1-minute power play for Chicago. On the ensuing 4-on-4, Jonathan Toews picked Douglas Murray’s pocket near the net and fed Kane for a goal that gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead heading into the third.
Hawks backup goalie Ray Emery will get the nod vs. the Sharks this time over Corey Crawford.
WagerWeb.com trends: Home team is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings. Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Chicago. Over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings. Sharks are 6-13 in the last 19 meetings. Sharks are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings in Chicago.