NHL betting: Ducks host dangerous Sharks

By: David Schwab | Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Anaheim Ducks have captured eight of their last 10 outings

The Anaheim Ducks tangle with the San Jose Sharks Saturday night at the HP Pavilion in what will be the fifth of their six-game regular season series. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and the game will be broadcast on VERSUS.

It is crunch time for Anaheim to lock down a spot in the postseason with just five games left to play in the regular season. The Ducks are in seventh-place in the crowded Western Conference with a total of 93 points. They are just two points out of fourth place and have a six-point lead over Dallas and Calgary,

Anaheim ran its overall record to 44-28-5 with eight wins in its last 10 games, including a 4-2 victory over the Flames this past Wednesday as a 114 road underdog.

The Ducks are averaging 2.84 goals per game thanks largely to Corey Perry, who leads the league with 46 goals. Their second leading goal scorer, Bobby Ryan, remains questionable for Saturday after suffering a knee injury in Wednesday’s game. Teemu Selanne has 28 goals and 48 assists and Ryan Getzlaf has tallied 18 goals and leads the team in assists with 51.

Another concern is the health of goalie Jonas Hiller, who has been suffering from vertigo-like symptoms. Ray Emery is expected to get a rare start in his place.

Emery has been in net for just six games this season but has played lights-out with a goals-against-average of 1.90 and a .935 save percentage. The Ducks are giving up an average of 2.87 goals a game, which is ranked 20th in the league.

San Jose knocked-off Phoenix 4-1 last Saturday as a 107 road favorite and then clinched a playoff spot in impressive fashion with a 6-0 shutout of Dallas on Thursday night as a 174 home favorite.

The Sharks ran their record to 45-23-9 SU (36-41 ATS) and have 99 points, which is the second-best total in the West.

Led by Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, San Jose has been a scoring machine lately with 28 goals in its last seven games. The team is averaging 2.92 goals a game, which is seventh-best in the NHL. Marleau is the leading goal scorer with 35 and is tied with Thornton for the team-lead in points with 66.

A big reason for San Jose’s success this season has been the play of goalie Antti Niemi, who should be in goal for this one. He has started 56 games and has a 2.41 GAA and a .919 save percentage.

The Sharks are ranked ninth in the league in goals allowed with an average of 2.52 goals per game. They have struggled a bit against the power play this season with an 80.2 percent kill rate.

Anaheim is 20-9 this season as a favorite and 24-24 as an underdog. The total has gone ‘over’ in seven of its last 10 games but has stayed ‘under’ in 39 of 77 games overall.

San Jose is 32-22 as a favorite and 13-10 as an underdog. The total has gone ‘over’ in seven of its last 10 games and in 38 of its 77 games.

This year’s series is tied at two games apiece, but the Sharks have won seven of the last 10 games overall. They beat the Ducks 5-2 as a 214 home favorite on Oct.30, but the last three games have been decided by one goal with the total staying ‘under’ twice.

San Jose should be a hefty favorite given the Ducks’ injury situation, but bank on Emery to come up big in goal to give Anaheim a much needed road win.

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