Winnipeg Jets vs. San Jose Sharks - 3/17/15 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction
San Jose Sharks (34-27-8) at Winnipeg Jets (34-23-12)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 8:00 pm (MTS Centre)
The Line: Winnipeg Jets -120 / San Jose Sharks +109 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The San Jose Sharks really had an opportunity to get themselves right back in the thick of things if they could have found a way to beat the Chicago Blackhawks on home ice on Saturday afternoon. Instead, the Sharks collapsed in the third period and remain four points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card berth in the Western Conference. It has been a tumultuous season for the Sharks but now with the controversy that came down this week things are getting even worse at a time when the club just doesn’t need it. Joe Thornton, stripped of his captaincy before the season started, telling general manager Doug Wilson to “shut his mouth,” probably isn’t the type of a thing a hockey club needs when they’re battling for every point over the final 13 games. It’s just another problem that the Sharks have to deal with, but if they can steal some points against a couple of tougher opponents they still have an opportunity to get in the dance. Tuesday night’s match with the Winnipeg Jets looks like a do or die for the Sharks. A win would put them within two points of the Jets with the same number of games remaining, but a loss would have them six points back. If San Jose can get a win over Winnipeg, they still have games against Toronto, Philadelphia, Colorado, Dallas, and a home-and-home with Arizona. There’s nothing about this Sharks club that would make anyone believe in them being able to pull this off, but with a win on Tuesday night it really isn’t all that implausible.
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For the Winnipeg Jets it’s all about bringing playoff hockey back to a city that is absolutely desperate for it. Canada hasn’t had a lot of luck with their hockey clubs recently but this season they have an opportunity to have Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, and even Ottawa in the post season. Winnipeg is just 4-4-2 over their last 10 games but they did find a way to pick up a huge two points on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Winnipeg was a huge underdog coming into this one because of their struggles of late, but they play the type of game that if executed would give the Lightning a hard time. That’s exactly what happened in this one and the Jets were able to stay patient until they finally got their breaks. Trailing 1-0 midway through the third period the Jets finally got on the board with Drew Stafford’s 14th goal of the season coming on the power play. Just 2:44 later it was Blake Wheeler with his 20th goal of the season that put the Jets in front for good on their way to a 2-1 win. Ondrej Pavelec got the start in goal over the struggling Matt Hutchinson and he only had to stop 15 shots to pick up his 14th victory of the season. Winnipeg did an incredible job of limiting chances for the Lightning and they’ll be looking to play the same type of game against San Jose on Tuesday.
This is one of those games where if you’re not a fan of either team you’d like to see the Sharks find a way to pull this out and make the playoff race that much more entertaining. It’s entirely possible that San Jose will do this an still find a way to choke in the end, but odds are it starts with this one.