Ottawa Senators (26-23-10) at San Jose Sharks (30-24-8)
|Date & Time||Saturday February 28, 2015, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: San Jose Sharks -155 / Ottawa Senators +140 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
As the San Jose Sharks continue to lose hockey games it will be worth watching to see whether or not general manager Doug Wilson attempts to acquire some pieces that will get his club into the post season, or uses this as an opportunity to sell and try and get his club corrected. This has been a long time coming for San Jose and after numerous disappointing playoff performances after dominant regular seasons, they’re finally starting to show some age along with the dysfunction that came after last year. San Jose is only two points behind the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division standings and three points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card berth in the Western Conference. It’s just that the Sharks have been the club that has been playing the worst hockey of all of the contenders. While Minnesota and Los Angeles continue to reel off wins, the Sharks are going backwards. Factor in a schedule that includes games against Montreal, two against Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Chicago, and Winnipeg, and it might be time for Wilson to waive the white flag. The odds of San Jose finding a way with that schedule and how poorly they’ve looked are slim to none. Wednesday night the club lost their second in a row and fourth in the last five games when they blew a 2-1 third period lead at home to the Detroit Red Wings. Patrick Marleau’s 13th goal of the season on the power play in the second gave the Sharks the lead, but they were embarrassed in the middle frame. Detroit out shot the Sharks 18-6 in the second period and despite trailing carried it over into the third where they out shot San Jose 13-2 and out scored them 2-0 on their way to a 3-2 win. For a club that is desperate for points and came out so strong in the opening period the Sharks absolutely collapsed. They’ll have a chance to take advantage of an Eastern Conference club that is fighting to stay in the playoff picture when the Ottawa Senators come to town on Saturday night.
While the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Philadelphia Flyers continue to struggle, the Ottawa Senators have suddenly gotten hot. Winners of four straight games the Senators find themselves five games behind Boston for the final playoff spot with a game in hand on the Bruins. It likely won’t change their approach heading into the trading deadline but right now the Senators have as good a chance as any of those clubs to make a run. There really isn’t anyone in the mix in the Eastern Conference that’s fighting for that final spot that is any good. Boston has the pedigree but have looked like a shell of their former selves this season. This looked like it could be a road trip to the West Coast that would cripple them, but through two games the Senators have risen to the challenge on the back of their goaltender Andrew Hammond. After posting a 22 save shut out against the Anaheim Ducks in a 3-0 win on Wednesday night, Hammond got the call against on Thursday in Los Angeles. Not only did he answer the challenge but he was the biggest reason for the victory. Hammond kept the Kings off the scoreboard through two periods and watched as Mike Hoffman scored his 21st goal of the season at the 1:40 mark of the third period to put Ottawa on the board. Hammond did the rest, stopping all 11 Kings shots he faced in the third period in the 1-0 win.
This is a game to stay away from. The Sharks are desperate but that didn’t seem to mean much for them on Thursday against Detroit. Ottawa is not as good as they’ve played as let but they’re getting some value here.