San Jose Sharks (19-3-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (19-9-1)
|Date & Time||Thursday December 5, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -121 / San Jose Sharks +110 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Sharks head into Pittsburgh looking for their seventh straight victory while the hometown Penguins look to extend their own winning streak to five.
San Jose continues to assert itself as a Stanley Cup contender with each passing game and with a 4-2 victory on the road against the Maple Leafs pushing their winning streak to six there appears to be no slowing down for the black and teal. However, Thursday night’s encounter with the Penguins in Pittsburgh could very well pose the biggest challenge the Sharks have faced all season and they will have to be playing at their best if they want to keep their winning ways afloat. The Sharks have so much depth up front and have a well-balanced blue line that makes things so much easier for goaltender Antii Niemi between the pipes but when he is called upon he certainly doesn’t shy away from the action. Niemi will get the nod here for the Sharks as he goes up against Marc-Andre Fleury in what is hands down the best matchup of the night.
The Penguins survived a scare on Long Island in their last outing as they clawed back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime showing some resiliency but they need to do a better job of giving up early leads especially if it’s against a team like San Jose. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin form the best one-two punch in the entire league as they currently sit in first and second respectively in points this season and much of the success the Penguins enjoy will stem from how well their two superstars are playing. While Crosby and Malkin have been spectacular it is the play of last year’s goat in Marc-Andre FLeury that is still raising some question marks and while he is certainly the best option the Pens have in goal he is still susceptible to allowing some soft goals as we saw in New York and against the good teams that will cost you big time. This will be a great matchup between two of the game’s best and while the firepower lies with the home side I am taking the Sharks here as they have more depth and currently the better goaltender.