San Jose Sharks (35-29-8) at Ottawa Senators (36-24-11)
|Date & Time||Monday March 23, 2015, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Ottawa Senators -145 / San Jose Sharks +131 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Things in Ottawa could not be any better right now, and with the way the Boston Bruins appear to be freefalling it could result in a post season berth for the Senators. Ottaw continued their exceptional play behind rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond, despite the goalie putting up his second consecutive mediocre performance. Mike Hoffman got the Senators on the board on Saturday night with his 25th goal of the season. Hoffman has been incredible this season and less than three minutes after his goal put the Senators on the board their captain Erik Karlsson doubled the advantage with his 19th goal of the season. Ottawa would face some push back from the Toronto Maple Leafs in this one, but it wasn’t enough to stop their torrid streak. Curtis Lazar scored his fourth goal of the season just 26 seconds after Toronto had cut the lead to one, and despite the Maple Leafs rallying to even the game at 3-3 it was Kyle Turris who gave Ottawa the lead back with his 20th goal of the season coming on the power play in the final minute of the second period. Turris would score the only goal of the third period as he finished off his night with an empty net goal in the 5-3 win. This run started with the play of Hammond in net, but over the last couple of games it has been Ottawa’s offense that has really picked things up for this club. When you’re in a situation where you have to make up as much ground as the Senators have it becomes all hands on deck. Boston continues to struggles and with the way the Senators are playing they should be able to hold off a team like Florida as well. For Montreal and the New York Rangers, this is exactly the type of team that you don’t want to face in an opening round match up of the post season.
In San Jose the Sharks are still holding out hope for a post season berth but Saturday’s 2-0 loss in Montreal against the Canadiens arguably put that to rest. San Jose has underachieved immensely this season and now that they’re six points behind Calgary for the final spot in the Pacific Division and eight behind Winnipeg for the final wild card berth, it looks as if their season is all but over. There will be plenty of changes coming in California where it appears no one is safe. This is a hockey club that has had a core of players that was able to put together many great seasons, but they weren’t able to ever find that elusive championship. Add to that the fact that the Sharks found ways too many times to exit the playoffs early and this looks like it’s going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. San Jose was unable to get anything going against the best defensive club in the National Hockey League, leaving Antti Niemi to try and win the game on his own. Niemi allowed just one goal in the hockey game, but the Sharks were unable to solve Carey Price all night long. With their season coming to end it will be interesting to see what type of effort his club gives the rest of the way. There are a lot of players that could be on their way out, a head coach, and even a general manager. Things are not looking up right now in San Jose.
This type of run has to come to an end soon for the Senators. There is going to be one of those games that they lose against a club they shouldn’t lose to, because runs like this don’t last forever. San Jose has the ability to be that team, but it’s hard to see it happening in this one.