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NHL Picks Preview for Tuesday February 15, 2011: San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators

Written by Andrew Scofield   
Monday, 14 February 2011 18:15

San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators PicksSports Betting Online Preview

Just about everyone in the NHL was expecting great things from the Nashville Predators this season. Betting on college basketball in Nashville will have to wait as the Predators are coming through on that promise. Nashville may have to make a move or two as the 2011 NHL trade deadline approaches to be a Stanley Cup contender. But, for now, the Predators are sitting pretty in the NHL standings are ready to be a force in the Western Conference playoffs.

When the season started, the San Jose Sharks looked like they were in trouble. The team swapped out long-time goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for Stanley Cup winning goalie Antti Niemi, and that is when the trouble started. Niemi looked shaky the first 20 to 25 games of the season and the Sharks were looking like Nabokov was not ths issue. But Niemi has his game under control, and the Sharks are making their push into the Western Conference playoff picture.

San Jose Sharks
With all of the talent that the Sharks have on offense, it is difficult to believe that goal scoring is the problem. Antti Niemi is 3-2 in his last five games, but he has two shutouts and has not allowed more than three goals in any of those games. The Sharks just cannot score goals, and it is starting to catch up with them. The frustrating thing for San Jose is when Niemi was playing lousy earlier in the season, the Sharks were scoring goals without any problem. Now that Niemi is back on track and playing like the championship-caliber goalie that he is, the Sharks cannot score. The Sharks defense has also improved dramatically in the past two months. In their last 10 games, the Sharks are 7-2-1 but are riding a two-game losing streak. Much of that winning is due to the play of Niemi and the defense. If the Sharks offense can get going again, then the Sharks will be a force in the Western Conference playoffs.

Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators have had a strong defense backed by great goaltending all season long. The only team in the Western Conference that has allowed less goals than the Predators is the Los Angeles Kings. The season-long problem for the Predators is that they cannot score goals either. Only St. Louis and Edmonton have scored less goals than Nashville in the Western Conference this season. The Predators were supposed to address their offensive short-comings in the off-season, but they never did. Nashville brought in Sergei Kostitsyn from the Montreal Canadiens to help add some scoring, and Kostitsyn is having one of the best seasons of his short professional career. But injuries to key goal scorers such as Jordin Tootoo have prevented the Predators from scoring the important goals this season.

The Bottom Line
The Sharks are bringing their game together nicely, but they still need to work on their offense. The Predators have been playing short-handed all season, but are still holding down fifth place in the Western Conference. The Sharks may not be able to put on the pressure they need to get a win against Nashville.

BSN Sports Pick: Nashville Predators

 
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