NHL Weekend Games
Western Conference leader San Jose is the underdog in this game and with good reason, as they have dropped four in a row and are facing a desperate Calgary team that is coming off a win and has to keep winning just to make the post season.
San Jose Sharks (43-17-10 96 pts) at Calgary Flames (35-26-9 79 pts)
Bovada has Calgary as the slight favorite in this game with a moneyline of -125 with San Jose at +105 and a total of 5.5 goals.
Tonight north of the border the Calgary Flames host the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have lost four in a row and now are tied atop the West with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flames won their last game and with that win pulled within one point of Detroit for the final playoff spot in the West.
There is a good chance that tonight’s match up will be a first round playoff match up.
This season the Flames are 17-16-3 at home and the Sharks are a Western Conference best 21-11-2 on the road.
In their last games the Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Wednesday night and the Sharks lost to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 last night.
The Flames may have a little revenge in mind, as the last time they played the Sharks at home San Jose embarrassed them winning 9-1 on January 18th.
The Sharks have the third highest scoring offense in the league (3.19), but in their four game losing streak they have only scored a total of eight goals. Tonight they will be facing a solid Calgary defense that is only giving up an average of 2.40 goals per game.
The Flames have to win this game with their defense, as their offense only ranks 28th in the league in scoring (2.49 goals per game).
If the Sharks’ offense continues to struggle they will need a good game from G Evgeni Nabokov (37 wins 2.38 GAA save percentage 92.4%). He and the San Jose defense have not been playing well, as they have given up 18 goals in their four game slide.
Even though Calgary does not have a dynamic offense the Sharks still have to key on Jarome Iginla, who leads the Flames in goals (31), assists (33), and points (64).
Saturday Big Games
Chicago Blackhawks at Phoenix Coyotes
Chicago is tied for first in the West while Phoenix is in fourth place. The Coyotes are on fore, as they have won seven straight and look to move up in the conference. If the season were to end on Friday this would be the possible second round playoff match up.
Detroit Red Wings at Vancouver Canucks
As of Friday Detroit only has a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the eighth and last playoff spot in the West. Something’s gotta give in this game, as the Red Wings have won three in a row and the Canucks have the third best home record in the NHL.
Sunday Big Games
New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
This is an important game for both teams that are battling it out just to make the playoffs. As of Friday Boston holds the eighth and last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and only lead ninth place New York and Atlanta by three points.
Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues
Nashville is secure with the sixth position in the West, but the Blues have to finish the season strong to make the playoffs. As of Friday the Blues are 7-3 in their last 10 games, but they are still five points behind Detroit for the last playoff spot in the West.