Sharks, Capitals lead Tuesday NHL odds slate

By: Barry Daniels | Monday, February 7, 2011
Joe Thornton

Joe Thornton and the Sharks take a 3-game win streak into Washington.

The San Jose Sharks have captured seven of their last eight games to move into second place in the Pacific Division, three points behind Dallas. The Washington Capitals have dropped three of their last five outings, but remain three points behind first-place Tampa in the Southeast Division.

The two second-place squads will hook-up for the first time this season Tuesday night in Washington, with the puck dropping at 4:00 p.m. (PT).

San Jose extended its winning streak to three games with Saturday’s 2-0 shutout victory at Boston as 117 road underdogs. The win raised the Sharks’ road ledger to 13-10-2-1.

Though the combined two goals dipped ‘under’ the 5 ½-goal closing total, the ‘over’ is still 29-24 in San Jose’s first 53 overall encounters.

Rookie Logan Couture scored a power-play goal at 7:22 of the opening stanza, while Devin Setoguchi added an empty-netter with 2.1 seconds remaining to provide all the offense the Sharks needed.

Antti Niemi, who earned his third shutout of the season with 26 saves, hasn't lost in regulation in eight starts. Niemi is now 15-13-1-2 with a 2.66 GAA and a .913 save percentage.

Ryane Clowe and Marc-Edouard Vlasic assisted on both goals for San Jose.

San Jose’s defense was sharp all game, holding Boston scoreless in four power play opportunities. The Sharks have not allowed a power play goal in six of their last nine games. The streak has seen the Sharks move up to 15th on the penalty kill with a 82.6 percent success rate.

Todd McLellan’s Sharks are 13th on offense, averaging 2.8 goals per game thanks to a No. 2-ranked power play that is clicking at a 23.1 percent rate.

After suffering through a three-game losing skid, the Washington Capitals registered their second win in a row during Sunday’s nationally televised event by blanking the Pittsburgh Penguins as 150 home favorites, 3-0.

The victory lifted Washington’s home ledger to 17-5-2-5, as the club is outscoring the opposition at home by an average of 3.07 to 2.21.

The combined three goals ducked below the NHL odds, leaving the ‘under’ 8-1 in Washington’s last nine overall games and 14-2-1 in its last 17 home encounters. The ‘under’ is 38-15-1 in the club’s first 53 dates this season, which is the most in the NHL.

Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble each recorded a goal to lead Washington’s offense.

Michal Neuvirth, making his first appearance since Jan. 18 in Philadelphia, made 22 saves for the second shutout of his NHL career. Neuvirth raised his record to 16-6-1-3 with a 2.46 GAA and .914 save percentage.

Defenseman Mike Green left the game after a slap shot by Brooks Orpik struck him in the head near his right ear. He is listed as “questionable” on the Don Best Sports injury report.

Washington continued to struggle with the man advantage, going 0-for-4 on the power play. The squad is 3-for-25 with the extra skater in its last 10 contests. The goal drought has dropped the Caps into 20th place on the power play with a 17.2 percent success rate.

Defensively, the Caps rank ninth by allowing 2.4 goals per game and second on the penalty kill with an 86.4 percent success rate.

San Jose is 14-2-1 in its last 18 series meetings with the Caps, including 6-1 in the last seven matchups in Washington. The ‘under’ is 5-2-1 in the last eight overall gatherings.

The Sharks continue their seven-game road excursion Wednesday by traveling to Columbus for a matchup with the Blue Jackets. Washington concludes its three-game homestand Saturday by hosting the Los Angeles Kings.

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