Here are Today’s NHL Picks:
Avalanche @ Sharks
This Game 7 features two divergent teams. San Jose had a chance to close the series out in Game 6, but Colorado’s top line found a way to send the series back to San Jose for a Game 7. Now, can San Jose win without needing divine intervention in the form of a five- minute major and four power-play goals?
As always, the goalies take considerable spotlight in any seventh game. It has been a series where both goalies have looked better at home. The two teams are 2-1 at home in this series. So far, San Jose has looked a little better on the road than Colorado has. Here are what the goalies’ numbers look like:
- Martin Jones: 3-3 with a 2.35 GAA, .913 save percentage.
- Philipp Grubauer: 3-3 with a 2.51 GAA, .918 save percentage.
Jones’s quality starts came in Games 1 and 3-5 while Grubauer had quality starts in Games 4 and 5. It is not surprising that the only “goalie duel” was in Game 5.
With the way this series has gone, the likelihood of a goalie duel in Game 7 is low. This series has had too many ebbs and flows. Look at how Game 6 played out. Colorado’s top line basically scored in overtime before San Jose’s could. At some point, lower scoring is a possibility, but it just does not add up
Why is there a heavy focus on the goaltending? At some point, a team needs their goaltender to bail them out. Both goalies have performed well with a few bad starts in this series. Grubauer has seen a heavier shot load including 39 shots in Game 5.
Finally, there is another key. It will be intriguing to see which top-six unit sustains its production first. During the latter portion of this series, it was San Jose who has mostly dominated games 5 and 6. Colorado had one very good shift from their top line and that was enough to send this series back to San Jose thanks to Gabriel Landeskog.
If San Jose is to win this Game 7, they will need to play at home like they have most of the series. Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl have been centers of attention for the Sharks along with Timo Meier providing a ton of muscle and timely scoring. From the blueline, it will be Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns carrying the play. Do not expect Marc-Edouard Vlasic to score two goals again. Colorado has had a devil of a time trying to contain the San Jose core. For Colorado, they need the Nathan MacKinnon line to continue what they showed in overtime on Monday night. However, the Avalanche getting contributions from J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost must instill a bit of fear in San Jose. Thankfully, San Jose should have the line matching to, in theory, slow that duo down along with Colin Wilson.
Our betting rationale is mostly straightforward for this tilt. San Jose’s team over could be in play here, but the idea is to keep this a bit simpler. Even the over of six from Vegas carries moderately high risk. Yes, three of the four Game 7’s this postseason hit the over but Dallas and St. Louis dove way under mostly because of Ben Bishop on Tuesday night.
How long can Philipp Grubauer keep Colorado in Game 7? The longer he does, the better chances Colorado has. If San Jose scores early, then they may be on their way. Either way, it’s Game Seven!
1u – SJS Sharks MoneyLine @ -140
1u – Over 5.5 total goals @ -120
1u – SJS Sharks PuckLine (-1.5 goals) @ +190
By Chris Wassel