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Post Olympic NHL Hockey Previews

The Sharks have the best record in the Western Conference and while the Devils have the second best record in the Eastern Conference they limped into the Olympic break only winning 3 of their last 10 games.

New Jersey Devils (37-21-3 77 points) at San Jose Sharks (40-13-9 89 points)

Bovada has a moneyline for this game with the Sharks as the favorites posted at -150 with the Devils at +130 with a total of 5.5 goals.

This season San Jose is 19-5-7 at home and New Jersey is 17-12-2 on the road.

In their last games before the break both teams lost, as the Devils lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 and the Sharks lost to the Buffalo Sabres 3-1.

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The break may not have helped either team, as each had several players playing for their home country in Vancouver.

This is the first game after the Olympics for both teams.

The Devils have to win this game with their defense, as they only rank 21st this season in scoring (2.56 goals per game). New Jersey is solid on defense only allowing 2.33 goals per game.

The New Jersey defense has to play well against the Sharks’ big guns of Joe Thornton, who ranks fifth in the league in points (75), and Patrick Marleau, who ranks third in the league in goals (38).

New Jersey will need a good game from Martin Brodeur (34 wins 2.32 GAA save percentage 91.5%). While Brodeur has had a great season the last few weeks have been tough for him. Sure, he did win the gold medal with Canada, but he was demoted to backup in the middle of the Olympic tournament and in his last 8 games for the Devils he was only 3-4-1 with a 3.20 GAA.

Devils LW Zach Parise was the almost hero for the Americans tying the gold medal game with 24 seconds remaining and he will have to provide some offense for the Devils in this game, as he leads the team in goals (28) and points (61).

Even though the Devils are not a great offensive team Sharks’ G Evgeni Nabokov (34 wins 2.26 GAA save percentage 92.8%) has to play well, especially if the solid Devils’ defense can keep San Jose from scoring.

Wednesday NHL Betting Odds

Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

The Caps have the best record in the NHL, but the Sabres may have the best goalie in the NHL in Ryan Miller, who the world knows about now after leading the Americans to the gold medal game in the Olympics. He will have to play well against a Washington team that leads the NHL in scoring.

NHL odds on every game every day - {URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/NHL/Odds}click here{/URL} for the best hockey odds comparisons.

Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings

Vancouver is solid and is in the third position in the Western Conference while Detroit is holding onto the eighth position in the West. The Red Wings will have to find their offense if they are going to make the playoffs for the 19th straight season.

Thursday Hockey Puck Lines

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

Olympic hero Sidney Crosby has to get down to business after the break and get Pittsburgh back to the finals. They only trail the New Jersey Devils by one game in the Atlantic Division. The Rangers are in the ninth position in the East trailing the eighth place Montreal Canadiens by one point. The Rangers have to have to play well after the break to make the post-season.

Montreal Canadiens at San Jose Sharks

The Canadiens are in the eighth position in the East, but they only lead Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay by a single point. They will have their hands full against a Sharks’ squad that has the most points in the West and have the leagues second highest scoring offense.