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Chicago Blackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks - 1/5/14

San Jose Sharks (26-9-6) at Chicago Blackhawks (29-7-8)

NHL Hockey: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm (United Center)

The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -142 / San Jose Sharks +129 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds


A Sunday night showdown at the United Center in Chicago pins the Blackhawks against the San Jose Sharks.

On Saturday night the Sharks got off to a dismal start in Denver against a strong home team in the Avalanche. Antti Niemi was pulled in the second period after allowing three unanswered goals. Apparently the switch to backup keeper Alex Stalock served as a wake up call for San Jose. Colorado promptly scored a fourth goal, but the Sharks battled back only to lose by a score of 4-3. Patrick Marleau had a goal and two assists for the Sharks, which gives him a three game point streak. 

Chicago Blackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks - 1/5/14

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off of a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Among all of the Hawks offensive weapons Patrick Sharp has been the brightest shining light of late with 14 goals and seven assists in his last 13 games, which includes the hat trick Sharp had against the Devils on Friday. Sharp now has 25 goals on the season and is second on the team in points with 45. Where Chicago has really excelled above and beyond any other NHL team is on the power play. The Blackhawks lead the league with 165 goals, scoring 24.3 percent of the time with the man advantage. 

This is the second of three meetings between these two teams this season, with the first coming back in November in Chicago, a game the Blackhawks won convincingly. The Sharks are 0-4 in the last four meetings and 0-6 in the last six meetings in Chicago. The home team is 12-2 in the last 14 meetings between the two clubs. The Sharks are playing the tail end of a back-to-back, but San Jose has gone 5-2 in the last seven games playing without a day of rest. Chicago is playing a third game in four days, but has performed well in such situations going 20-7 over the last 27 games under similar circumstances. I find it tough to play against the Blackhawks in this situation, but the money line is steep considering the level of the opposition in the Sharks. So, I lean to a play on the Blackhawks, but I will take a look at the total.

A few strong trends suggest that the over between these two teams is a solid play. The over is 8-1-2 in the Sharks last 11 road contests and 5-1 in the last six overall. Over is 6-2 in the Hawks last eight versus a team with a winning record, and the over is 24-11 in the last 35 Chicago games overall. With two of the top five scoring teams in the league I have to say the over looks juicy in this game. 

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