After a fairly surprising season where they captured third in the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks moved into the NHL Playoffs’ second round after upsetting the LA Kings in five games. Now they face the Nashville Predators, who pulled off an even bigger upset by taking out the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.
The Predators and Sharks meet tomorrow night at 10:30pm for Game 1 of their series. San Jose has the definite rest advantage because they knocked LA out on April 22. Meanwhile, Nashville’s thrilling Game 7 against Anaheim happened just two nights ago.
Will this quick turnaround hurt the Predators’ chances of winning on Saturday? Or will the Sharks be rusty and struggle against a battle-tested Nashville squad? Find out as we discuss both teams’ chances of winning as well as the betting lines.
GTBets.eu line for Game 1 (Apr 30 at 10:30pm EST)
San Jose (-105)
Nashville +1.5 (-235)
San Jose -1.5 (-190)
Why the Sharks will win
San Jose failed to even make the postseason last season, and they finished an unassuming third place behind LA and Anaheim in the Pacific this year. So there wasn’t much buzz about San Jose going into the postseason. But then the Sharks easily handled the Kings and walked into contender status.
Brent Burns (8 pts) and Joe Pavelski (5 goals) were too much for LA and could prove to be Nashville’s undoing as well. This is especially the case if the Predators come out slow after a brutal series with Anaheim.
This team is more than just about Pavelski and Burns, though, since Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau played a big role in the dominating performance against LA.
Then there’s Joel Ward, a versatile forward who can pass, shoot and stay in front of the opposing net. Ward’s multiple contributions will certainly keep Nashville defenders off balance.
Why Nashville will win
It felt like celebration time for the wild card Predators after beating the cream of the Pacific crop in the Ducks.
The fact that the Predators just played seven games could help them keep an edge as they face a Sharks team that will be coming off a week of rest. They’ll also have the confidence of knowing that they won the season series against San Jose 2-0-1.
Weber and Roman Josi form a tough backline that’s capable of slowing down the talented Sharks forwards. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Pekka Rhine is in the goal for Nashville.
Prediction for Sharks vs Predators Series
The way that the Sharks played in the last month of the regular season, combined with their performance against LA, has some wondering if they’re playing the best hockey in the league right now. Nashville certainly has the talent to contend and make this a series. However, they have to be beat after not only going the full seven games against Anaheim, but also flying back and forth between Tennessee and California. We don’t think there’s much doubt that San Jose will win, the only question is how quickly they’ll end the series.
Series Prediction: Sharks win series 4-2
Betting Advice: San Jose is favored pretty heavily on the lines right now. So you might find some value in Nashville for certain games, especially if they can prove that they’ve still got something left in the tank.