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Can Wild Continue To Climb Versus Sharks?

Posted by Carter Brown on 3/20/2013 7:27:49 PM

The Minnesota Wild have climbed to third place in the Western Conference thanks to a 10-3-1 record on home ice this season. They will look to add to that win total in a rare matinee game on Saturday. Minnesota will host the San Jose Sharks in a contest that will start at 2 PM ET, an excellent opportunity to gain some ground atop the Northwest division. San Jose has been awful on the road this online sports betting season, and has to travel to the central time zone for an even earlier start.

San Jose Sharks @ Minnesota Wild
Saturday March 23, 2013 – 2:00 PM ET
Xcel Energy Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
NHL Sports Betting Line: Minnesota – 120

The Sharks are treading water near the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture, tied with the Phoenix Coyotes for the eighth and final playoff spot with 30 points. A big part of the problem has been a 4-9-2 record away from home, where San Jose has struggled with inconsistency.

NHL Betting Preview: San Jose Sharks

Finding a way to play better on the road could be the key for the Sharks the rest of the way, as they look to lock up a playoff spot in the super-tight Western Conference race. Only four points separates fourth from 10th in the conference, and that will put even more pressure on San Jose to find a way to earn some points on the road. The biggest problem so far has been a lack of offense, as the Sharks rank 28th in the NHL in goals per game with an average of just 2.3. Veterans Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton have paced San Jose’s attack in goals and assists respectively, but the young guns haven’t provided the secondary punch as expected.

NHL Betting Preview: Minnesota Wild

Minnesota hasn’t been much better in terms of sheer offensive numbers, but the difference is that they have been a much more consistent team at both ends of the ice, and rank sixth in the NHL with an average of just 2.4 goals per game allowed. Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter share the team lead with 23 points, while Zach Parise is right behind them with 22. However, even more important has been the team’s play in front of Niklas Backstrom, who has held his own as the team’s No. 1 netminder this season. The Wild still need a little more time to develop some chemistry on the powerplay, but the penalty kill has been one of the best in the league and ranks fifth at 85.9-percent.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

The online betting numbers that the Sharks have put up on the road this season have been nothing short of awful, and it’s been surprising for a team with so much talent in the first place. San Jose needs to be much more consistent on the road, but don’t expect that to happen in a tough matinee game against a Minnesota team with an eye on a division title in the Northwest this season.

NHL Betting Pick: Minnesota Wild

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